Monthly Archives: July 2015

Into the Woods or Into the Hope? (Life Journal – 7/6/2015)

Scripture

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”[a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Observation

  • Analogy: builder of a house is more worthy of honor than the house itself
  • “We” are Christ’s house (and ought to honor him as the builder
  • The test of whether we are God’s house is whether we remain confident and  in hope

Application

Yesterday I saw my daughter in a local production of “Into the Woods.” She was wonderful by the way. Not to spoil the story if you don’t know it, but the wishes and dreams that come true in the first half of the show come undone in the second. And there is much loss and grief. None of the characters escape unscathed. Even the narrator is killed in the second half.

We live in an age when we no longer believe that things will work out… that the best can happen. Some of it is because we live in a time of disappointment. And failed promises. Our culture and our entertainment reflect that.

Today I attended a funeral – a celebration of the life of the father of a colleague and friend.  It was filled with hope, with love, with rejoicing. And that in the face of death.

I was reminded today during this funeral that we want to be people who cling to hope, who put our trust in a God who builds everything. In God who can work things out… who can heal hurts… who can give us hope that can endure incredible tragedy… a God who triumphed over death and promises life.

Prayer

Lord, you are the builder of all. May we dwell in your house. A house where things may not always be what we hoped or dreamt. But a house that will endure. A hope that will be fulfilled. May we not give into the reality in which we live, even that of death. May we live in that house, live in that hope, live in you and in your Son. Amen.

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God’s Expectations (Life Journal – July 2, 2015)

Scripture

I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit. (Isaiah 5: 1-2)

Observation

  • Isaiah 5:7 makes clear this is about Israel is the vineyard – who is “I” and the beloved?
    “The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
        is the nation of Israel,
    and the people of Judah
        are the vines he delighted in.
    And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
        for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”
  • Echoed in Jesus’ description of the vine and the branches in John 15
  • “I” is singing about the Lord whom he loves
  • The crop of good grapes is justice and righteousness
  • The Lord has worked, labored for the good of the vineyard
  • There is a natural order here – preparation of the ground, installation of the facilities,  needed for the vineyard and its fruit and then an expectation of fruit

Application

One of the great truths of the biblical witness (and something I mentioned in a recent sermon) is that God is not distant and uninterested but active and involved in human affairs. Including mine!

I am not a farmer but I understand the analogy and the expectation of God that fruit would come from the sacrifice, the effort, the love expended in behalf of the vineyard. God has blessed me, worked on me, resourced me, sacrificed for me in Christ.

These sobering words spoken to Israel and Judah are just as sobering to me. How have I borne fruit from God’s efforts for me? How have I used who I am, whom God has made me, to produce a crop of justice and righteousness?

Something worth considering today…

Prayer

Lord of the Vineyard, thank you for your love and for the countless ways you have worked for me and in me and on me. Give me a heart and mind to see where you have prepared the soil of my heart and life and  where you have built what I need to be fruitful. I confess that I have not always been a fruitful vineyard, not always produced a crop of justice and righteousness with what you have given me and done for me. May I be a fruitful vine today in the name of the One whose vine I am, Jesus the True Vine. Amen.

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