Thursday, August 20, 2009
God is a four letter word. Huh? "Looks like three letters to me." You may answer. But look again. For many, God is a curse word. His name is used as a "fill the blank" term for whatever ticks you off. Even ministers toss this word around carelessly in their conversation like, "Darn" or "Wow" or "God! Haven't you learned anything I taught you?" I'm never comfortable when God's name is used carelessly. So we substitute Gosh instead. That's how we Christians slip by without actually cussing. Hmmm...maybe that's an issue that needs to be discussed someday. But not for today.
But back to my original statement, God is a four letter word. Let me explain. First the Bible tells us that God is Love. Now that takes a lot of unpacking, but for the moment let it stand on it's own. There's another word, God is Lord. Now that is a big one too. So often our faith is in God as a belief, but to worship God as Lord involves adding Love and obedience to the mixture. For someone to be Lord, that involves ownership. But because God is love, that ownership is one of relationship. God is my father who loves me so much I want him to "lord" it over me. I want to obey him because his love is so overpowering. So to make him Lord..."make" may be a bad term, we don't make anyone. God is already Lord and he gives us his grace to enable us to accept his "Lordship" over us. We submit to him, his will and his plans for our lives.
Lordship is what's missing in many of our lives. God is not a deist god somewhere out in the far reaches of space who sits on his lonely throne stroking his long gray beard and sipping his heavenly nectar. He isn't a casual observer. He is active in our lives and wants only the best for us. He loves us too much to allow us to bump around like so many bumper cars in the avenues of life. He is forever shaping us into his likeness which takes a lifetime. Our part is to allow his grace to shape us and mold us into whatever he wants.
In Protestant circles, we call that Sanctification. In Catholic circles it's called working out your salvation. Regardless, it is all an act of grace that allows God to have ownership, control of us in all we say or do. So if God is simply a three letter word of belief or a four letter word of love and Lord, submit to his third four letter word. What is that? The reveal Word who is Jesus Christ. For Jesus is the expression of the Father to us. He is the spoken Word of God. You want to know Love? Get to know Jesus, the ultimate expression of Love. You want him to be Lord? Submit to him who gives you grace to accept him as Lord, Jesus.
Let Jesus help you to work out your salvation through Sanctification (setting yourself apart for his service and pleasure). An old fashion word for that is Holiness. Let Jesus make you into a four letter word. What is that four letter word? Holy!
Now for a few good links. I encourage you to read a good Catholic, Marcellino D'Ambrosio. His column today is good called "Belief in God, The Virtue of Biblical Faith." His website The Crossroads Initiative is always interesting.
Next, speaking of Holiness, consider this article from a Catholic regarding changes in the mass. Protestants would do well to read this and than ask yourself the questions, "Do constant changes in our worship services help or hinder my concentration in worship? On the one hand, "Does sameness breed too much familiarity resulting in lack of concentration?", or "Is my worship enhanced when new things are thrust upon me which breaks my worship in order to figure out what is happening?." My suspicion is that we Protestants have similar concerns as this Catholic worshipper. Think about it.
And then there is the enigmatic Michael Spenser, the "Internet Monk." Michael is a Southern Baptist with strong leanings to Lutheranism and the new Reformation teachings growing there. He has in interesting family His wife has converted to Catholicism and his son is, I believe, Episcopalian or Anglican, I'm not sure. Michael has been doing a series of articles on The Evangelical Liturgy. Today in part 4 he addresses some of the questions I have hinted at above. Enjoy The Evangelical Liturgy Part 4.
Then there is a mystic that has caught my attention. I don't buy into all this guy teaches, but this article on his blog today was quite interesting. He calls himself Yoholo (don't ask me why). He's an ecumenical Catholic and won't be accepted by many of the traditional Catholics. He considers Protestants as brothers and sister. But this article is quite good. Enjoy, The God Bargain-When Christians Act Like Pagans.
Well, that's it for today. I'm home sick and need to go and rest.
Until next time, Jesus is Lord.
Posted by RichnHim at 7:30 AM