Psalm 90:7-9 :
7For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
8You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to and end like a sigh.
Psalm 19:12 :
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Secret sins. Hidden faults, hidden even from ourselves.
If we are responsible for saving ourselves from eternal damnation, or even partially responsible, be it through a decision, an indulgence, a commitment, an act of penance, or reaching a certain age of accountability, we are done for. We can confess all our sins, and still there is even more.
As angry as someone can get at me if and when I mess up, that’s just a breeze compared to the deserved wrath from the eternal God who is just and holy. Whether you’ve angered your friends, your parents, your employer, your children, or your spouse — righteous anger that may be when you’ve harmed them — it is infinitely worse from the Creator. Your and my heavenly Father, who created us for good works, and we have let Him down aplenty.
Not all change is progress. I imagine there will be some people who voted for hope and change who already don’t like the changes that are coming in healthcare, taxation, and other issues.
Change can be argued as a bad thing in and of itself. Change and uncertainty increase the risk of our actions. We expect our checking account balances to remain the same unless we withdraw or deposit. We expect to avoid jail when we don’t break the published law. We expect tulip bulbs to become tulip flowers, not dandelions. Take away these types of certainties, by changing banking policy, the laws on the books, or I suppose magically manipulating plant DNA, and you change the behavior of the people who depend on these certainties.
In the church, change isn’t always progress, either.
The declining number of Christians in church for many denominations has people looking for something, anything, to keep people or bring new people in. Many churches, even Lutheran ones, have added “contemporary” services, sometimes stopping liturgical services or offering a “blended” service in place of the liturgical service.
I dislike the term “contemporary.” Contemporary refers to a short length of historical time, something new, when some of the things that are done in this type of service are not new at all. The advocates, to avoid getting a term assigned to them by critics, should choose a term that has to do with what is going on in the service.
The worship format war is tangential to and consequential of the theologies people have about worship, and there is more than one theology of worship. It doesn’t take a Master’s Degree of Divinity to see this.
My neighbor asked me if I thought John the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah. I said that the Bible doesn’t say that and doesn’t deal with reincarnation, but as I was looking through Matthew 11 and 17, I noticed something cool starting with 11:7:
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see?A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’”
I watched the Cleveland-Orlando basketball game last night. It was a seriously hard-fought game. LeBron nailed some clutch free throws to send it into overtime, and I fully expected him to make that last shot 5 feet outside the three-point arc to push the Cavs to victory. It wouldn’t have surprised me.
I don’t watch a lot of college and pro ball. It is a wholly different game than at the kids’ level, and it’s not just because the people are bigger and more athletic. Except perhaps the first five yards off the line of scrimmage in the National Football League, I can’t think of another sport where the coach actively teaches the players to break the rules and commit fouls. Professional wrestling doesn’t count.
Imagine what baseball would be like if a second basemen was allowed to trip the runner going to second six times. No manager would coach a pitcher to balk six times.
Hockey fans are free to weigh in: does the coach tell the players to deliberately board? Or is that just individuals looking for what they can get away with?