Thursday, July 8, 2010
Perhaps it is God's mercy?
How hard it is to walk into a plenary meeting knowing that Belhar will be sent to the Presbyteries for a vote. It passed. How hard it is to walk into plenary knowing the Presbyteries will now need to vote on nFOG. It also passed. How hard it is to walk into plenary knowing of the other overtures and recommendations that may be passed. (The committees passed the elimination of biblical marriage language overtures & and the removal of the ordination standards, hopefully the whole GA will not, but ...)
But the Lord confronts and comforts his church. He confronts his church in every age for her waywardness; he surprises her from time to time with the gift of revival and renewal.
Judgment begins with God’s Church so says the word of God. Karl Barth refers to God’s ability to take away the candlestick of the Church in some areas. He reminded the Church of Germany that Jesus Christ was as capable of removing the candle stick of the German Church as he had removed the candle stick from the Church of North Africa, that Church of Augustine. Now God has brought revival to Africa. It is his gift to those beleaguered and persecuted people.
All of this is His will; if the biblical understanding of marriage and leadership is cast aside in the next two days, it is only because he allows it to be so. Perhaps to purify and strengthen those who hold tightly to the word of God and intend to follow Him where ever he leads. And perhaps God allows this so that hearts might continue to be hardened that he might display his power against evil and darkness, against those powers that bind the wayward.
If those who wish to find a blessing for sinful behavior use the church to justify their action God will allow them to move even further away from his transforming gift of mercy into a world of despairing emptiness. This is a two pronged action. To remind the sinner of her sinfulness and turn her sisters and brothers toward her in an act of love and mercy. That is why Jude tells the Church:
“But you beloved ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you that In the last times there will be mockers following after their own ungodly lusts. These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you beloved , building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; and save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 17-23)
We all have a call; it is waiting for us as we return home. It is a call to be sorrowful before the Lord because of our Church’s waywardness, yet full of joy because Christ is with us. It is a call to keep reaching out to those whose hearts are hardened. And it is a call to protect, love and care for one another. It is a call to care for the little ones who will be hurt.