Sunday, May 2, 2010
First Presbyterian Church of Roseville, Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church and the comfort of our Lord
I wanted to rant and rave. A friend wanted to curse them, something a Christian may not, cannot do. Here is the truth, forgiveness will bring healing to them or it will eat away at their soul. They, like the creatures, in C.S. Lewis’ essay, “The Weight of Glory” will progress toward a thing that if you saw it in reality would be a horror and a corruption that might be found in nightmares.
Yes, the sad thing is that just now, in the face of this, we will meet for worship and then a Presbytery meeting in the church whose former leader, I will not call him pastor, caused all of us, to not allow them to leave with their own gifts and works, their church buildings.
God is better than that. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord …” a heavenly voice has said. Why? Because they not only “rest from their labors” but they carry their deeds, their works, with them. Those deeds truly belong to God, he prepared them ahead of time, but he allows the saints to carry them to heaven. (Eph 2:10; Rev 14:13)
Not so the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). First Presbyterian Church of Roseville California will pay half the court cost and “they will pay $810,000 (about 10% of their church's appraised value) over a 20-year period at no interest. (This would be a monthly payment of $3375.)” And Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church; they also are settling with the PC(USA). But will there be trust anymore?
In the beautiful passage of Isaiah which Jesus quotes, as he reads from the Prophets in the synagogue at Nazareth, his very being is expressed.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (61: 1-2a).
But the latter part of the sentence containing 'favorable year of the Lord' is not spoken by Jesus, that is, he does not say that he is sent to proclaim “the day of vengeance of our God.” But notice, within the text such vengeance is connected to God’s promise “to comfort all who mourn” granting to them an exchange of garlands for ashes and “the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantles of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” And Jesus as the eternal Son of the Father and Lord of the Church pulls all of the promises and warnings of Scripture into himself.
It is all tied up together. The comfort is now, it belongs to God. In the same chapter in God’s written word is this, “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.” While this undoubtedly has application to physical Israel in the midst of her history it also applies to spiritual Israel, the church.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer has written about the church struggle of his time, “Trust will always be one of the greatest, rarest, and happiest blessings of our life in community, though it can emerge only on the dark background of a necessary mistrust. We have learnt never to trust a scoundrel an inch, but to give ourselves to the trustworthy without reserve.” (Letters & Papers from Prison)
The Lord Jesus Christ calls his church to obedience, patience, suffering and joy. And to wait for his sovereign will in all things.