Monday, February 26, 2007

Moving Forward

The Holy Spirit has been at work shaping me and forming me. It has been painful at times but God took me to many places to teach me patience before putting me where I'm at now. Overall I believe that we do have purpose but I'm not sure that we can even begin to explore that until we've been like fresh shoots in the springtime of Hope in Jesus Christ, a strong stalk growing in the faith and knowing of the God of all that was, is, and will be. A blossom of jubilance in the inspiration of that purpose and then yes, death. Death to any of the tiniest thoughts of talent, wisdom, knowledge, value, aside from that finding its root in the creator God, saved by the blood of his spotless lamb and son, Jesus Christ, and being born anew and afresh in the power of the Holy Spirit. That pattern of birth, growth, death, and redemption is our lives here on earth. That's not to say that we remain in a window looking out on the world while we go through this transformation. There won't be any transformation if we did that. No, we are to go out, find wisdom in humility, faith in our unbelief, strength in our weakness and failure, life in our death.
I've been struggling with some issues lately that have to do with where I worship and where I give. My wife and I are very much against abortion for any reason and we've been part of a faith family that echoes our position. Recently I found that our denomination is in opposition to our position on this and has given money to pro-choice activism.
As I watched the story of this little girl, Amillia Sonja Taylor, surviving after being born at 22 weeks, I was again stricken with grief that I have let keep me from worshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ for the past month. I have not wanted to go to church because I know that we have leadership now that is also pro-choice. When I brought this up with a long-established member the reply was "I've been going to this church for 40 years and about every 10 years there is another 'social issue' that threatens to divide the church, I wouldn't worry much about this".
Finally, after waiting upon the Lord I've got an answer. I was asked just this morning to speak about the Psalms at our Wednesday evening service. I found this poem in the search for commentary on the psalms.

A Psalm of Life

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
We'll talk about the Psalms this week and we'll include one of my personal favorites, Psalms 139:13-16:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be
Its been 30 years since Roe V. Wade. William Wilberforce preached against slavery for 46 years. 30-40 babies like Amilla (after the 20th week) are aborted every day here in the U.S. 3700 prenates are aborted every single day in the U.S. yet people spend $30,000-$40,000 to adopt a child from overseas. I'm not againt the adoptions at all but I'm just saying it doesn't make sense.

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