Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I Don’t Understand

The lesson for us is not to let reason put limitations on what God can do in answer to faith and trust. Every time we pray in difficult or desperate situations we affirm that God is not limited by what our reason says is possible. Pascal said, “Reason is a poor thing if it cannot recognize its own limits.” — Don Talafous OSB

Contrary to what the Enlightenment proclaimed, reason does have limitations. Not everything can be, or should be, explained and followed in a logical manner. If God and his mighty works could be explained, then he wouldn’t be God and we wouldn’t need him. Should we throw reason out all together? Nay! Reason is necessary and helpful for communication, discovery of new cures and inventions, education, and living peaceably with others. Our error is in making it the ultimate and final test for all things. Mankind leans toward extremes. If we don’t like the way things are going, then we swing to the opposite pole and claim that it solves all problems. We didn’t like what the Roman Catholic church was doing in the 16th century, so we threw out all that was good along with the bad and came up with a completely new way of worshiping God – the Reformation. There were many attempts within the Roman Catholic church that advocated and pled for reforms and a return to holiness and reverence. Wouldn’t this have been a much better way to go about reform? I understand that there are times in history where dialogue and reasoning are no longer effective. This may have been the situation back when the German monk, Martin Luther, nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door in 1517. But 500 years later, it may be time to go back and evaluate where the Reformation has brought us. In our quest to understand and explain scripture and the Christian walk, have we missed the untold benefits and blessings of those things that can never be explained? What have we done with the mysteries of God?


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Keeper of the Door

Is there really no nighttime in heaven? I think I would miss that. There is something so calming and restoring about twilight and evenings. Cool breezes, the stars twinkling overhead, the sound of crickets, the rumble of far away thunder, the sound of wind through the pine trees, the hooting of an owl. Is there not a place for this in the new earth? Perhaps the reference in Revelation (“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”) of heaven being continuous light is a statement of the lack of evil and not a scientific observation. I can see the throne of God resplendent with the sun’s rays in the morning – light so brilliant that it hurts the eyes! God’s presence is even brighter. But I can also imagine the throne of God at night, with so many candles that you can’t count them. Incense wafting in the night breezes. Angels and cherubim flying through the temple quietly. There is a hush. And everyone bows in worship of the King. Everyone present is filled with awe and wonder and contentment. For the moment, there is no other place I’d rather be. Father, in years past, I was concerned with how big a “mansion” you would prepare for me. Now, I realize that I would be happy with the smallest of rooms – just for sleeping actually – for I would spend my days in the temple worshiping you and loving those around me. My “mansion” would only serve to give me a place to rest my head at night. We really “need” so very little when our hearts are focused on you! Just let me be a “keeper of the door”.

Oh, let me be a servant
A Keeper of the door
My heart is only longing
To see forever more
The glory of Your presence
The dwelling of the Lord
Oh, let me be a servant
A Keeper of the door

– Twila Paris (Sanctuary)

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I had a thought yesterday concerning Evangelicals (of which I suppose “I am one”) or those who attend “bible-teaching churches”. We don’t have much of a heritage to draw upon. Other denominations – Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Orthodox – have centuries of saints, leaders, and liturgy to draw upon and connect them with generations past. Because evangelicals formed in an attempt to create a church that “didn’t do” certain things – responsive readings, incense, infant baptism, communion every Sunday, clerical robes, acolytes, organ music, kneeling – they have ended up with very little to remind them of those whose faith we stand upon. These rituals, these things we have held in common with generations who have worshiped before us, create a sense of community and strength. If we remove them, we stand alone in our faith. It is similar to the individual who estranges himself from the rest of the family and relatives because he doesn’t agree with them on an issue. Eventually, he finds that he has created his own loneliness and has no support when he goes through trials and sufferings. I believe the evangelical community is in a dangerous position right now. They face a multitude of issues in he workplace, our country and in the world, and they are not even connected to each other for strength. Evangelicalism is individualism gone bad. We long for a sense of community in our churches but end up engaging in futile “worship wars”, thinking that the type of music or service will bring about this elusive connectedness. How our bickering must grieve the Holy Spirit! We have lost our compass and need to regain the link with our brothers and sisters over the centuries – the “great cloud of witnesses” that stand in the presence of God. O, how much we could learn from them!

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