Sebastian Moore made this astonishing confession: “It has taken me thirty years to understand that the admission and forgiveness of sin is the essence of the New Testament.” Paul Claudel once stated that the greatest sin is to lose the sense of sin. Humility, recovering alcoholics like to say, is stark raving honesty. We cannot receive what the crucified Rabbi has to give unless we admit our plight and stretch out our hands until our arms ache. If we search for one word to describe the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, ‘reconciliation’ would not be a bad choice. The Crucified says, “Confess your sin so that I may reveal Myself to you as lover, teacher, and friend, that fear may depart and your heart can stir once again with passion.” His word is addressed both to those filled with a sense of self-importance and to those crushed with a sense of self-worthlessness. Both are preoccupied with themselves. Both claim a godlike status, because their full attention is riveted either on their prominence or their insignificance. They are isolated and alienated in their self-absorption. The release from chronic egocentricity starts with letting Christ love them where they are. Brennan Manning, Chapter Nine
Without intending to make too strong a case, it is worth noting that most leaders are at their best when facing a challenge, and that the desire for safety and security can lead us into the most insecure, indeed, precarious personal positions.
-Bolsinger, Tod. Canoeing the Mountains. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, Illinois.
Union may be symbolized by two wax candles, the tips of which touch each other so closely that there is but one light; or again, the wick, the wax, and the light become one, but the one candle can again be separated from the other and the two candles remain distinct; or the wick may be withdrawn from the wax. But spiritual marriage is like rain falling from heaven into a river or stream, becoming one and the same liquid, so that the river and rain water cannot be divided; or it resembles a streamlet flowing into the ocean, which cannot afterwards be disunited from it. This marriage may also be likened to a room into which a bright light enters through two windows—though divided when it enters, the light becomes one and the same (The Interior Castle, 272)
Listen to Clement of Alexandra:
Jesus Christ, by coming into this world, has changed the sunsets of time into the sunrises of eternity (Crabb, 185).
‘This communion will be perfect and complete when we enter into the full enjoyment of Christ’s glories. Then we shall totally give ourselves up to him, resting in him as the fulfillment of all our desires…. This communion is now only partial because we presently only enjoy the first fruits of that future perfection.’
Partial enjoyment now, but partially enjoying God is better than fully enjoying anything else. I think that’s true. And yet we insistently long to enjoy something fully today. That’s the appeal of sin. It’s the appeal of control. That’s why the Old Way has had such a stranglehold on us. What we fully give ourselves to, we want to fully enjoy. But Christianity calls for full surrender and promises only partial enjoyment until later (Crabb, p145-146).
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”
Galatians 3:1-5 NIV
God is the means of blessing, the modern Judaizers say. Implied, but never stated, is that God Himself is not the blessing we seek. It’s therefore right, and actually His plan, that we use Him to get a better life. But “using God” sounds harsh, manipulative, so modern Judaizers speak of trusting God for good things, of claiming His promises, of meeting His terms to win the blessings we want.
-Larry Crabb, The Pressure’s Off (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002), 57.
In the Gospel of Matthew, there are two instances where a cloud appears over Jesus and God shouts two brief, identical messages. I have often wondered what God would shout at me in a similar situation.
Honestly, I tend to think God would shout negative things at me. I imagine God telling me to stop doing something or to do more of something. In either case, the message would focus on the ways I’m falling short and have been inadequate.
I have struggled to imagine a loving and merciful God. It’s much easier to imagine a God who is either disappointed or really, really angry.
Bringing up this disappointed/angry image of God with people tends to strike a nerve.
What would God shout at you?
Read the rest of this article at https://edcyzewski.com/2017/06/20/what-would-god-shout-to-you-from-a-cloud/