This strange title came to me as I opened my heart to write this a.m. I look forward to my early morning, post devotional processing; and at times, am pleased with outcomes that often begin as bizarre as this a.m. entry. We’ll see?
The title is a possible carryover from the time I had to myself last night. Holiday Chek-mix in hand (my wife is a phenomenal snack creator at Christmas; the Achilles’ heel of my physical trainer, Josh), I watched three hours of Planet Earth videos. Amazing stuff: from pre-historic volcanic activity and undersea life, to Emperor Penguins.
At times I am challenged by the distance between scientific explanations and religious dogma; challenged not because of religion versus science, for neither have a handle on truth, though both are means toward truth. The challenge is not truth but man’s attempt to convey truth, whether of Physics or God and Creation. My dilemma as well are the many treasured moments of my own reality, when the meta physical presence of God has been so tangible with prophetic outcomes now far outnumbering my own doubts, after 63 years of journey with God.
My somewhat cynical observations of mankind in the fields of education (20 years), science (I do have a now “ancient” biology degree), religion (40 years), community politics (a three term mayor) and the too often awkward leadership blunders of the well-meaning in my life, to include myself, still pale in significance to my private moments with God.
I know what it is to hear God’s voice, though so many theologians even deny the possibility. I have seen the promises parlayed with that voice come to pass despite my failures and sin-laden choices. I have felt the consequences of my choices, watched their alignment with the principles of scripture; a reinforcement that those scriptures are enduring and relevant. Yet, with each failure found the favor and grace of a loving God, a friend that sticks closer than a brother; and I have one of the best of brothers.
I am now witnessing a transformation in churches as they are forced to reach out to their communities or suffer the peril of the current global financial crisis. Yes, the 2007 word, “My Church is in foreclosure” I believe to have been from God and His Christ. Not a harsh word but as stern as any caring CEO (and there are such animals) could offer. Foreclosure is simply the rightful repossession of property, leveraged in partnership so that dreams could be launched, while managed by those who have already overcome the hurdles that surely arise when risk is taken. He has overcome, even the grave!
“I saw a scroll (technically a deed) in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals. I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, ’Is there anyone (a near-kinsman) who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?’
There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it.
I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, ‘Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip (love the language “rip”) through the seven seals.’
So I looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, Animals, and Elders, was a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall. Seven horns he had, and seven eyes, the Seven Spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came to the One Seated on the Throne and took the scroll from his right hand. The moment he took the scroll, the Four Animals and Twenty-four Elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb. Each had a harp and each had a bowl, a gold bowl filled with incense, the prayers of God’s holy people. And they sang a new song:
Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals.
Slain! Paying in blood, you bought men and women,
Bought them back from all over the earth,
Bought them back for God.
Then you made them a Kingdom, Priests for our God,
Priest-kings to rule over the earth.”
Rev. 5:1-10 (MSG)