And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:1 & 2
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
La Sagrada Familia
Who knows where the winds may blow us, only a fool would sayWho knows if we'll ever reach the shoreFollow a rising sun with eyes that may only stareWhat kind of fire will burn us there? What kind of fire?Only a fool would say
La Sagrada Familia, the wind has changed the storm is overLa Sagrada Familia, for the lion and the lambLa Sagrada Familia, we thank the lord the danger's overLa Sagrada Familia, there's peace throughout the land! In Search of the Holy Family There are many people who, whether they know it or not, and whether or not they want to admit it, are looking for something that they can never quite grasp, or even put their finger on. The need to be a part of something is the need for communion that we've talked about before on this blog. If that necessary communion can't be found, for whatever reason in one place, what might be called the right place, it will be sought in another, usually what is seen ( by others ) as the wrong! A terrific sermon was preached to Covenant Community Church the other day, in a place not normally used for that purpose, and an area which might be called 'the Garden of Eden'. His sermon, which was formed around the theme of 'the household of faith' and based on the final few verses of Matthew 4. A recurring theme, as well, was the importance, and betterness, even, of the spiritual family ( covenant, might be a better term here ) over the natural. The Family of God, which we all are, especially those who have realized the nature of our relationship with our Creator, is one of a covenant nature, much like that of what might be called a nuclear family, but with one most important distinction; the Head of this family is not subject to human weaknesses ( although He is familiar with them ), and so, unlike a human father, is always faithful, always loving, always there, and never making mistakes; He is all-powerful, all-encompassing, and ever just! It has been debated in the past and is currently under scrutiny in some circles, as to whether one is a child of their Heavenly Father if they have not entered into Covenant with Him, or do not live such a life that could be deemed worthy of the title. The Scriptures do, unarguably, seem to say that it is those who show love for God and their fellow man ( human being ) and have covenanted with Him and them that are the children or sons of God. However, I believe, as I've postulated before, that we must take into account the historical context of these words. The children of God, Scripturally speaking, are named in opposition to the children of the devil. In the historically biblical context of John 8:37-47, for instance, the children of the devil are named as the Pharisees, and though it may be easily argued that this group is alive and well today, in the covenantal context of these words in John 8, we can see that they were fulfilled in the first century! Phariseeism is alive and well today, but as Revelation 11:15 tells us, the kingdom ( powers ) of that world became the Kingdom of our God and His Christ! Today's Pharisees think, like those of the first century, that theirs is the only way, and like those Pharisees, are greatly mistaken, but there is one redeeming difference; the once for all sacrifice of the Son of God brought lasting salvation to His people, and brought to an end the separation and the enmity! The Community of Divinity Can those who are not obedient to the Covenant be considered as part of the Body of Christ? Although they are arguably children of God, though they do not enjoy the blessedness of a right relationship with their Creator, can we consider them part of what Paul calls the household of faith? Can we call them brothers, sisters or mothers? Because they live, sometimes in flagrant though maybe willfully ignorant violation of the Covenant, they must still be viewed as children, though errant children of God, and who will never see the blessed results of right relationship with their Creator until and if they actively seek it for themselves! I believe that, in the covenantal context of Scripture, that if one has not acknowledged, both in profession and confession, that covenantal relationship, we can not rightly call that person part of the Body of Christ. There has been some question recently though, in certain circles, as to whether the term 'Body of Christ', especially as the apostle Paul used it in his letters, was not merely an eschatological figure, and whether this too, has been fulfilled. As we are speaking of an infinite Being though, and not just some human institution, I believe it is more than correct to say that this Body exists today! With the Advent of the New Covenant, and the full revelation of what might be called The Age of Grace, one might be tempted to speculate as to whether or not all are part of the Body of Christ, or what has traditionally been known as the invisible Church, being children of God. However, it is clear, from two immutable things, the first being the immutability of God Himself, and the second, His Fatherhood, that only those who obey the Covenant are blessed with the privilege to be called a Son of God! Only those who accept and follow the Faith of Jesus can be considered sons God, even though all His Creation might be considered His children. Jesus said, as quoted in Mark 3:35 'whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.' Although children, we should not consider all as part of the Family of God, or the Holy Family, but by acting according to the Covenant and partaking in necessary communion, one may indeed be welcomed, as a full-fledged and blessed member of La Sagrada Familia! May we always be ready, as Sons of God, members of the Community of Divinity, do our part to strengthen and encourage not just this Community, but the greater community of all God's children! Charles Haddon Shank