Monday, December 31, 2007

Verse for the Week

And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." ~ Rev. 21:5 (ESV)

We celebrate the new year and hope for a change, a new perspective or perhaps a new direction for our lives, but mostly things continue on as they had the previous year. Christ offers genuine newness of life. Union with him produces new life in us. Our old natures can be shed and new natures donned as we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Verse for the Week

This week's verse is not a verse of scripture, but verses from the Christmas carol, O Holy Night!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope - the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

The flip side of Christmas is the acknowlegement of sin and error. The great darkness that had lain on the world from the time of Eden was undone by the birth of God's Son, who is the radiance of God's glory. Remove the awareness of sin and Christmas becomes no more than the bland sentimentality of "be nice to one another". But in the fertile soil of Christ's truth and grace, "be nice to one another" transforms into:

Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gopsel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease.

Christ-like love has a freeing effect on the recipient and seeks not surface niceties, but a true breaking of the bondage that oppresses our neighbor.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Verse for the Week

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." ~ Luke 1:38a

[And Mary said] "For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
~ Luke 1:48b-49

Mary is an example of the strange economy of attitude found in James 4:6, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." She humbled herself to a servant's place in the household of God and accepted the task appointed to her. Suppose she had shrugged off the Lord's command and closed her heart to the child she was to carry and said, "Not me. I'll not bear this child for you." She would not now be called blessed, we know that much. Perhaps she would be viewed in the same light as Judas, a betrayer of innocent blood. But instead she aligned her will with God's will. And soon she would say, "he who is mighty has done great things for me".

Better a maid in the house of the Lord, than a queen of any earthly kingdom.