September 21, 2017
Why do we use the unpleasant parts of the psalms?
This morning, instead of omitting the unpleasant portion of Psalm 69 we used the whole thing. There's some part where the psalmist is frustrated and angry and cries condemnation on his enemy. This anger, of course, is not the Christian way. Instead, we are called to extend grace and love, even to the most hurtful of those who have done us harm.
Sometimes life is hard, frustrating, and challenging. We need to know that we can come to the Lord no matter how badly we hurt. We are allowed to call out to the Lord in our anger, our fear, and our pain. In the same way, we call out to him when we rejoice and have the deepest of joy.
The Psalm also has the tone of a prophetic vision. For Christ was given vinegar on the cross and does not John speak of their darkened vision to the nature of Christ in John 1?
Let us remember to boldly cry out to the Lord, for he knows our pain and joys more than we can imagine.
September 20, 2017
Today is St. Matthew Day. The lessons we read revolve around following the will of God. We remember that when Matthew was called, he simply left his old life behind, got up and followed Jesus.
This calling has a double meaning for us, first, when we hear the call of salvation through Christ, that we are to leave behind our worldly desires and follow him. The central point is that we are a new creation, no longer chasing the works of the flesh, but the desiring to grow in the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, as we walk with Christ, are we pursuing other things or earnestly seeking the will of God? Do we want to glorify God and build up treasures in heaven or here on earth? Let us aim to do the Lord's will with our whole heart, just as Matthew did.
September 18, 2017
As for me, I am poor and needy; * but the Lord careth for me. ~ Psalm 40:17
This past weekend in my homily I shared this with my parish: Upon the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards’s death, his wife Sarah, wrote one of their daughters “A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud.” This quote is a hard example of Christian Joy and gratitude. She did not deny God’s goodness but recognized the dark cloud that was passing over; she trusted that even in that God was good and holy.
We often prone to discouragement when things get tough. Both Sarah Edwards and the Psalmist this morning remind us that even in our darkest of days we have a holy and good God.
Let us not grow weary when we are running our race, but trust the Lord's provision and trust that He is working all things for good.
September 18, 2017
I am so sorry! I completely forgot to record and post this yesterday. I'm still trying to figure out the best time to do Monday. I'll get there. Again, so very sorry!
September 14, 2017
For whilst I held my tongue, * my bones consumed away through my daily complaining. ~ Psalm 32:3
We don't always like to talk about what happens when we sin and remain unrepentant. Our Psalm this morning reminds us the difference between repentance and ignoring our transgressions. Repentance leads to life and joy; complacency leads to the decay of our very body.
When sin goes unchecked, it deteriorates our very being. So we as Christians are called to repentance and therefore life. To live fully is to dwell in Christ and His righteousness.
Let us therefore not ignore the sin that is slowly killing us, but flee from it, and run towards Christ and his righteousness, always learning to dwell in His goodness.
September 13, 2017
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. ~ 2 Cor. 4:7
It is easy to become puffed up and think "look at all that I have done." We raise ourselves up to a level that we are not worthy of and this is not the Christian posture. Instead, we are earthen vessels.
I heard a story once of a British evangelical who would see someone in a sorry state and would think "there goes me, save but the grace of God. This attitude can come across as judgemental, but it is not the intent. He was attempting to keep himself humble, always recalling the awesome power of God's grace. We are called to recognize the grace of God in all that we do and give thanks for his work in us.
Whether we be priests, businessmen, housewives, bakers, scholars, or any vocation that God has called us to, let us remember that we are earthen vessels, and let us do everything to God's glory. Therefore, adopting this posture of humility may our lives show forth that excellence that is the power of God.
September 10, 2017
This morning we read about Nathan confronting David. David had sinned grievously, and in his heart, he was lying to himself about how bad it was. So, Nathan told him a story about someone doing something truly awful. David was indignant, but he did not realize it was his sin that Nathan was describing.
It hurt him to see what he had done, for often when we see our sin displayed before us it is ugly, and sometimes it is even hard to believe that we could have done such a thing to our fellow man.
Often, I see my wickedness, and I am surprised. Broken promises, words said poorly, unkind or uncharitable acts, or failure to behave like a Christian. It hurts when we see this, and we can delude ourselves to our nature, or we can repent. We can say "hey, I'm sorry, I screwed up." It is in repentance that we find freedom from that sin. So, let us have the courage to not hide our sins, but instead say we're sorry, flee from them, and trust that we are forgiven.