Hearing the Music


main image

As protestants we don’t often talk about the role of priests. While it is true that ecclesiastically we no longer employ a priesthood, we do talk about Jesus fulfilling the role of the great high priest. And we do subscribe to the priesthood of all believers. But what do we mean by that?

On one level, when we talk about the priesthood of all believers we mean that we all have the opportunity to enter, by means of Jesus finished work, the holy place of God through prayer. We do not need another human to intercede for us. We also mean that each of us plays a role in bearing the burdens of our fellow believers. Spiritually caring for each other is not relegated to the professional clergy. But it also means that we have a responsibility to those in the “outer courts” to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (cf. 1 Peter 2:9). Like the OT priest we bear the names of the nations near our hearts as we intercede before the Lord. I look forward to diving into the priesthood a little deeper with you this Sunday as we come to Exodus 28, 29!


Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

To Really See

main image

Sometimes to see a thing as it really is requires some imagination. I am not talking about the kind of imagination that makes up pink elephants or little green aliens. No I am talking about the kind of vision that pushes beyond what we can see with our physical eyes and aided by God’s revelation, sees more clearly. Brian Walsh in an essay entitled Subversive Preaching in a Postmodern World says this about the pastoral task, “(it) is fundamentally about shaping the imagination of the Christian community. ... We need preaching that will set the captives free, especially when they have become comfortable in captivity.” He builds off from Walter Bruggemann who observes, “The key pathology of our time, which seduces us all, is the reduction of the imagination so that we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted to do serious imaginative work.” … “It is the preacher’s primal responsibility to invite and empower and equip the community to reimagine the world as though Yahweh were a key and decisive player.” (Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope).

It occurs to me that empowering the imagination is exactly what God was up to in the construction of the tabernacle. It is a little weird isn’t it that almost immediately after getting Israel out of the slave clutches of the Egyptians, God invites the people to take up a collection from their hearts and to build an elaborate, mobil dwelling place in the midst of the wilderness (cf. Ex. 25). What is God’s play here? As we will see Sunday there is a lot going on, but a big part is that God desires his people to really see the universe. He wants them to understand that he is the key and decisive player in the world. He wants them to know his holiness, mercy and glory and weave it into their everyday lives. As we take a deeper dive into these tabernacle building instructions the next few weeks, our prayer is that the Spirit will be at work liberating our co-opted imaginations for His glory!


Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Going Home

main image

Jim, Addison, Kuni, Ben and I have spent the week in St. Louis at our denominational General Assembly. For Jim, Addison and I Saint Louis was a bit of a homecoming, all of us having lived there at some point in our lives. Landmarks trigger memories. Restaurants evoke reminiscence. 

Tuesday night our outgoing moderator, ruling elder Howie Donahoe, preached on Luke 23:43 "Today you will be with me in Paradise." Throughout his message he encouraged us to think about and long for heaven. This was a welcome call to remember that this world is not our home and long for our permanent home. What was interesting to me is that our current situation with regards to heaven, our permanent home, is that rather than reminiscence we operate with premonitions, or foreshadowings.

These heavenly premonitions could be a lot of things, but it certainly includes worshipping with sisters and brothers in unity of the Spirit. It includes the beauty of a Michigan summer day. We get a taste of paradise when mothers lay down their lives for their kids, when husbands love their wives. We get an echo of eternity in every act of mercy, wiping of tears; every time we fight against sin, fight injustice or cry out to our Savior. Foreshadowings of the victorious home-going that awaits us abound! Lord, give us eyes to see! 


Photo by Alessio Patron on Unsplash

12345678910 ... 4344