Mark 6:31-34 There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn't even have time to eat. So he said to them, "Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest awhile." (32) So they started out in a boat by themselves to a lonely place. (33) Many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples. (34) When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.
Ephesians 3:16-21 I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, (17) and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, (18) so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. (19) Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God. (20) To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: (21) to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen.
January 17 2021
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your
sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
So following on from last week
the church over the years has by and large
created a scenario
of a God who when you are this side of death
loves you with a never ending passion and graciousness,
but who when you die and don’t believe in Him
for whatever reason
and that would be the vast majority of people who have ever lived
seems to delight in making you suffer in torment.
Brothers and sister
this interpretation of the Bile
makes no sense what-so-ever.
There is however a different story line
that many have come to know
and which I believe you and I instinctively know
if we allow ourselves to re think
to repent, think again
of things concerning God.
So Jesus comes and begins His ministry with:
Repent, or turn from your sin
and believe the good news about God.
Sin being that state where we fall short of
the nature of God
failing to love or be able to love as God is love.
And so He began His ministry of Grace and mercy.
To be a Christian is to follow the master
and learn of the nature of God
and live out that nature in all of life.
The problems has been
the Bible is open to so many different interpretations
some claiming to be the true interpretation
and I think we have to move beyond debate
and beyond getting tied up in silly debates on who is right and who is wrong and
fall in love with the God we k now in Jesus
and allow His love to transform us.
When that happens, nothing else matters.
You know who you are, you know the divine lover.
It’s so simple.
So by way of illustration.
Imagine that you see from a distance
to whom you feel a strong attachment.
There is some beauty there that you instinctively desire.
And that person from ‘across the crowded room’,
as the song goes,
sees the same in you
and in fact puts their heart on their sleeve
and writes you a truly, truly, loving letter
that speaks of their love for you
part of which is an invitation to meet
and speak face to face, of these mutual feelings.
And you get this letter
and you are so excited
so much so that you clasp the letter tightly to you
and read it over and over
until you know it by heart.
And you show it to people
and you are blown away by the feelings expressed.
Truly is a loving letter.
Then, the letter slowly begins to take the place of the writer
so much so
that you neglect the invitation
and the letter itself becomes the writer..
But somewhere along the line
the people you’ve shown it to
begin to interpret it for you.
And much of what they say is not what you understand the letter to be saying.
So a kind of doubt begins to arise in you
and as the years go by
you begin to question if what you understood was right.
And you wonder if the words were true
that he or she wrote.
And in the midst of your growing anxiety
a good friend comes to you
and asks you why you are so confused.
They remind you that the letter had an invitation.
an invitation to meet, face to face
and speak of your attraction.
And they ask, what happened then when you met?
And your response is:
Well actually we didn’t meet.
The words in the letter were enough
at least I thought they were
but others have told me I read it wrong.
And maybe this person
has no love for me
and maybe it was a delusion on my part
that someone could love me in such a way.
They told me there was a catch to it.
Then the visitor says to you
but had you accepted the invitation
had you opened your heart,
not just your intellect
and allow the writer to embrace you
and pour their love into you
you would have discovered something so deep, so beyond your mind.
A discovery that found you encircled
in a love of which you have little knowledge,
a love unlike human love.
And had you done that
you would have
discovered there a heart that has beaten for you before the beginning of time.
I’m saying we need to know the writer
to be able to understand the letter.
Mere words on a page are not enough
we need to know the personality behind the words,
a knowledge not of the mind
rather a knowledge of the heart
such as only true lovers know.
For has not the lover said: the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life?
And then knowing that love
and immature thoughts of such things as hell
and who is right and who is wrong
and all the things that divide, vanish
and in the lovers embrace
the embrace of God
all will be well, and all will be well. and all manner of things will be well.
I know the writers heart
it will be O.K. in the end.
And then can you say with David:
The LORD is my shepherd
in His care I have everything I need,
He leads me to pastures of green grass and quiet pools
He restores me to Himself when I stray off the path!
And even if I go through the deepest darkness
even in places where wild animals could kill me
I will not be afraid
for Thou art with me!
Brothers and sisters, this is not a head thing
this is not a correct interpretation of the Bible thing.
We can not interpret the Bile until we know the heart of the author.
This is not the result of
endless Bible study,
this is pure unadulterated surrender to the Divine lover
where no words can be found
for no words
can express such love.
The apostle Paul writes: 1Co 1:20-21 So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skillful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness! (21) For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom.
We cannot do it.
When Israel walks away from God
and spurns God
God’s response is:
You want to give me up
but how can I give you up.
My heart, not my wisdom as God, not my intellect,
my heart will not let me do it.
I will not come to you in anger.
Someone once wrote,
if you have done things that make you afraid of God
the safest place to run
is in to God.
The Divine lover is also your hiding place.
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
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