GUIDED INTO ALL TRUTH

THINKER

Sometimes an encounter with the God, the Holy Spirit, brings conviction of guilt (John 16:8) prompting us to repentance. It’s a good thing. Sometimes the Holy Spirit helps us be attentive to others with empathy and compassion. That too is good for others and for ourselves. Yet at times the Holy Spirit illuminates bringing a flash of light on a matter. Its a cliche’ but all of a sudden “we see the light.” Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, “When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16: 13a).

On the grace of illumination, where do great ideas come from? What is the source of wisdom when its needed? “From whence it cometh” (I love that old phrase) clarity of thought that we know its not from oneself? It seems increasingly clear to me that it “cometh” from God. We need not be surprised. Jesus said the Holy Spirit “will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16: 13b-15).

Notice that this last quote ties together the entire Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the work of the Holy Spirit. All grace of God comes from all three persons of the Trinity working together in perfect love and unity. What’s more, God’s grace comes to us and for us to be passed on to others. Their pure, holy love for each other is God’s essence, his very being and nature, channeled into us in human form for God’s redemptive, reconciling, and restorative mission. This is what it means to be like Jesus. The essence of God takes human form for God’s purposes to God’s glory. What a remarkable blessing of God’s holy love. God comes to us to be passed on to others. He is the Gospel. This grace is not meant to be private. Yet it is personal. Its not meant to just be personal. The Gospel passed on is social. It passed to another. That’s why John Wesley believed that there is no holiness but social holiness. God is holy, spiritually social and socially spiritual. He invites us into the social love life of the Trinity in moments of illumination.

The Bible says “In all things, give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18). The next time a great, little idea comes to mind, stop to say thanks to the Holy Spirit. The idea is yet another act of God’s amazing grace!

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Divine Hospitality

DIVINE HOSPITALITY

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It may surprise many that as a Salvationist I participate in the Eucharist (The Lord’s Table) at every opportunity. That’s because The Salvation Army does not prohibit Salvationists from participating in a scriptural ordinance that John Wesley considered an effective means of grace.

                                   “Though part of everyday life, hospitality is never removed                                   from its divine connections.”    –  Christine Pohl

You may remember a line in an oldmovie – “The meal was divine!” For nearly five decades, the meals prepared with my wife (I’m the sous chef) often seem truly divine as Irene developed over the years into a world class master of the culinary arts (my opinion). What often makesour dining time together divine is not the fabulous provocation of our taste buds. Rather it is sharing of meal with others and the fellowship around the table.

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Christine Pohl states –“Especially in the context of sharedmeals, the presence of God’s Kingdom is prefigured, revealed, and reflected. Jesus asgracious host feeds over five thousand people on a hillside, and later explains to the crowd that he is the bread of life, living bread for them from heaven. He offers living water to any who are thirsty (John 6-7). He is himself both host and meal – the very source of life.”


Dr. Pohl goes on to ponder the divine hospitality of the Eucharist and how closely a shared meal is to that divine act. . .

“In the last supper with his disciples, Jesus fills the basic elements of a meal with richest symbolic meaning – the bread is his body, the wine, his blood. Eating together, ritualized in the Lord’s Supper, continually reenacts the center of the gospel. As we remember the cost of our welcome, Christ’s broken body and shed blood, we also celebrate the reconciliation and relationship available to us because of his sacrifice and through his hospitality. The Eucharist most fundamentally connects hospitality with God because it anticipates and reveals the “heavenly table of the Lord.” In that sacrament, we are nourished on our journey towards God’s banquet table, even as we experience the present joy and welcome associated with sharing in that table. A shared meal is the activity most closely tied to the reality of God’s Kingdom, just as it is the most basic expression of hospitality.”

What a blessing it is to remember the last sentence of the quote above each time we sit down with others who respond to our invitation to dine together. When we do so in Jesus’ name and say that the meal was “divine” we may be confessing a “double entendre” and an absolute truth!

[1] Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (Eerdmans, 1999), p 30.

 

Coming Along Side Others

“Were not our hearts burning within us as he walked and talked                                     with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” – Luke24:32

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How many lives have been greatly changed because another person took interest and came along side to guide, support, and walk for a time along the journey? I imagine the answer is an unimaginable number down through the ages.

My daughter and son are now grown adults. When they were younger I took them to Israel, twice separately. During one trip with my son, we found ourselves in a little tourist shop in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. While browsing through all the tourist memorabilia, my eye caught an item that was not for sale, but just being used as a divider between a stock of post-cards. It is a piece of wood 1/4 inch thick, and 5 and 1/2 by 8 inches wide. But it is more than just a piece of wood. It is a very lovely ink sketch of an older rabbi with his arm around a young man. Perhaps it is a picture of a father and son. For me it spoke volumes of what my daily walk with my son and daughter could be. It captured the purpose of being in Israel together.

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I remain quite fond of this ink on wood sketch. It captures the idea of one person coming along side, guiding, supporting, and encouraging another. I see it often and am reminded of its meaning. This simple ink sketch speaks to head and heart. It reflects the importance of presence. It is the rabbi and the student together exploring new vistas and passing on wisdom, knowledge, and virtue. It reminds me of Jesus the Rabbi and more:  Jesus who comes alongside and whose Great Commission to his disciples is my commission too.

                               “Go … make disciples …  teaching them to observe all that I’ve                                            commanded; and lo I am with you always,” right by your side!                           Matthew 28:19 & 20:

We have the daily privilege of coming along side others, making room for others, inviting them to walk with us for part of the journey, a journey of intimacy in holiness with God!  What a blessing! All glory to God!

                                  “And he walks with me and he talks with me . . .”