Thursday, April 23, 2015

a competition of words

In the beginning God created all that is, out of nothing, merely speaking it into existence.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God- by him all things came into existence." (1 John 1)

God has chosen to reveal himself to us as a God of words.

He is a God whose Word, whose story, 
as He speaks those words, 
is over all 
and in all and through all

His Word gives existence to us all.
He is the Author of life.

This beating heart inside my own chest, these children to my left and my right, the plants in my garden- each one of these things created and sustained by this God in whose presence we now sit.

God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth and what he created he called good.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to believe that His Word wasn't fully true.

So from the beginning there has been a competition for truth, a competition of words.

God's infallible eternal Word which gives life, 
and Satan's falsehood which brings death, damnation, destruction.

When the word became flesh, 
God began writing into human history the story of our salvation, the Easter story.

The author of the story entered in, became man Himself
God entered into our story, our broken story, which has a horrible nightmare of an end, 
so that He could draw us into the new story that He is writing in Jesus

The author of life, far from being recognized as the Word made flesh, 
God incarnate, 
Immanuel-for-us,
was, as the prophets predicted, 
despised 
and rejected

This God! 
He, who would meet us in the future in the waters of our Baptism 
and write his word upon our foreheads and upon our hearts 
and mark us as one redeemed by Christ the crucified
that same man Jesus received our condemnation!

We took out our pens and we wrote on Jesus; 
on His forehead and heart: 
Condemned. 
Damned. 
Blasphemer
Not Worthy of Life

It was the pinnacle of mans' audacity,
his hubris against God
to think that he could take what God had written--
what God had spoken 
and blot it out!
and with human hands, write a new story in its place!

Satan and the religious leaders of the day rejoiced when Jesus breathed his last and said, “It is finished."
They thought that God had given up,
that finally man's word and man's story has attained the glory that it deserves.
And in our black hearts,
we join them in their rejoicing.

We long to rewrite the story, and every day we try. 
We rewrite the commandments so they don't say what they say.
We tone them down, so they don't condemn us to death and damnation-
We make them commend us for how much better we are than other people!
We use the law-
the very thing that is meant to show our lack, our weakness, our need for Jesus-
and we "tweak" it, 
edit it, 
change it, 
so that it seems to show our strength.

How evolved we are!
We know so much better!
At least we aren't like those horrible people over there who behead each other!
No, we're much better. We do our killing in sterile environments,
in secret, 
on only the weakest and smallest victims,
and for a reasonable fee.

You shall not murder!
God's word says in back and white, on tablets of stone even,
but we say “in some cases...”
and we shout our own words over His.

We shout, because we don't like to squirm under the condemnation of the law.

In this way, 
we are daily responsible for slapping Jesus, 
pulling out His beard and writing in our own hand:
crucify him

And yet, Jesus...
the Author of life...
keeps on writing His story.

Jesus takes all those sins,
the sin of abortion, murder, 
hypocrisy, 
selfishness,
greed, 
and He says, "Let it be said of me.
Put those sins on my account,
write them on my ledger.
I will die for them."

And so He does.
But when He says, "It is finished!"
He is not giving up!
No, He has just begun!

He writes the story of Easter,
He, with his precious blood has smeared over the tablets of our ugly story,
He has wiped the slate clean, 
and He is writing a new story.

He shouts His Words of grace and forgiveness and mercy,
He freely shares his triumph over sin and death,
He places His seal upon our forehead, 
our hearts,
on our lips, 
in our mouths.

What, then, is prayer, but asking God to keep writing?
Keep writing, Jesus, on this heart of mine!

And this very thing is God's desire for us!
"Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19)

Yes, God, refresh me!
This is God's desire for us, that we may be refreshed,
forgiven,
healed, 
and restored.

Written-on
with His eternal ink:
Beloved.


Let us go forth, proudly bearing His name.
Amen

-------------------

This post is almost entirely comprised of snippets from my husband's sermon last night.
Listen to the full audio here:  http://church.whitecreek.org/sermons.php
(The Author of Life 4/22/15)

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