Monday, April 25, 2011

The Christ Resurrection Event

The Resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead

was, is, and continues to be of significant impact

upon and beyond the realm of our understandings....


It's staggering to even try to begin and attempt

to comprehend the full depth, breadth, and gravity of it all.


Earth shaking, ground breaking, universe transforming,

landmark event of Biblical proportions to the utmost in the world

that humanity, all creation, history itself has experienced... ever! extraordinary paradigm shift for the entire cosmos! though the total created order of the space-time continuum

throughout the known and unknown universe

was and is continuously, infinitely, eternally folding unto itself

at the singularity of the Christ event.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Theology of Lament in Worship on Good Friday

As I have found myself repeating upon reflection through this Holy Week, the saying continually comes to mind that "you can't have Easter without Good Friday." In his piece for Reformed Worship "On Good Friday", Dr. John D. Witvliet writes of our liturgical need for lament in the spiritual life of those seeking to live out their faith in Christ.


Professor Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, states that, ideally, worship on Good Friday ought to "include [a number of] elements. We should narrate Jesus' death. We should sense the profundity of his passion. We should acknowledge the world-changing ramifications of the cross for the salvation of the world." He goes on to say that "lament is a key ingredient in worship that arises from honest, soul-searching faith." <>


As some may imagine, I myself have recently experienced blessed occasions for receiving comfort and peace over the last year as the Lord has led me to find solace in the psalms of lament throughout the scriptures. There is a sense in my own journey of faith, especially of late, and indeed, a deepening experiential knowledge, of that which makes for a more holistic encounter of the holy.


Among all the reasons we might have for coming to worship, we come, I believe, in order to meet with God. I certainly do not come to be entertained, wined or dined. Nor do I attend or intend to be amused. When I come to church, I come with a sense of adventure, awe and expectation that the Awesome Lord God Almighty is coming, too, waiting to welcome and warmly embrace every one of us with such love, mercy, grace and generosity.


Our experience of the divine, while we attempt to live the Christian life as Jesus' disciples, is meant to encompass the whole of what it all means for us to follow the Holy One Who was and is both fully human and fully divine. Can you try along with me to grasp and get this in any way at all, beloved? It seems way too big, writ large, overwhelmingly huge for us in our humanity to wholly comprehend. It's a mystery. It is the mystery of life in faith. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. The sinless, holy God in Jesus Christ went through it all in order to identify with you and me. Huh?!? What was that? Come again? You're telling me… (as the Word tells us) that He Who was and is without sin, suffered, died and became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God! Woe, hold on there, wait a second…. How much love can there be? So much for the whole world to see…


John Witvliet continues to write…


Fairly early in the medieval period, the Roman church was in a process of paring down the typical Sunday service. One of the places for trimming was the lengthy intercessory prayer (even then, the "long prayer" was perhaps too much for people's short attention spans). Yet several liturgists, probably quite conservative ones, stepped in to preserve that lengthy prayer for use on one day of the year—Good Friday. For centuries thereafter, Good Friday was the occasion for the longest and most intense prayer of the entire year.

The instincts of these liturgists have much to teach us. For part of what we celebrate on Good Friday (and the word "celebrate" is crucial) is that Christ has completely identified with us in suffering, even to death (Isa. 53:12; Heb. 4:14-16). On Good Friday we hear again Christ pray the lament of Psalm 22:1, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? On Good Friday, we remember how wondrous it is to have a savior-intercessor who is able to sympathize with our weakness (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9).

What better time than this to practice a spiritual discipline of lament? What better time than this to express solidarity with those who suffer, including Jesus himself? On Good Friday, we lament not to Jesus, but with Jesus.


Dearly beloved ones in the Lord, if Jesus did all this so that He could be identified to be with us, shouldn't we in return take Him up on His invitation and come join with Jesus in solemn intercessions before the throne of grace?


Lord, though we may like the disciples before us fall asleep in the garden of yours and our prayers, may you find us faithful in, to and for the end of your glory in praying for us all.


In solidarity with you, together in Christ, we pray


Pastor Rex

Friday, April 08, 2011

He has set eternity in their hearts....

When one has well and deeply loved another, one experiences deeply the recurrent pain of grief suffered upon their loss of the other. The deep sense of loss over time deepens one's gladness with gratitude in joyful appreciation for the blessing of precious moments shared together in love. The inherent preciousness in such depth of relationship encountered abides in eternity.