Friday, May 29, 2015
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Spirituality in the Church
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Turning the page, I read…
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Psalms of the twenty-ninth day from my well-worn Jerusalem Bible. My book mark, the calling card I used when I was a street reader (someone who reads the Gospels aloud in public places) fell out as I opened the Book above me where I reclined on my bed. Christ, the Sower of Good Seed, and ‘Mark 4:3-9’ my theme. I took up the first psalm appointed for the day, my favorite. (Actually, every psalm is my favorite when I am reading it.)
In praise of God's omniscience
For the choirmaster, of David, psalm.
Yahweh, You examine me and know me,
You know if I am standing or sitting,
You read my thoughts from far away,
whether I walk or lie down, You are watching,
You know every detail of my conduct.
The word is not even on my tongue,
Yahweh, before You know all about it;
close behind and close in front You fence me around,
shielding me with Your hands.
Such knowledge is beyond my understanding,
a height to which my mind cannot attain.
Where could I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where could I flee from Your presence?
If I climb the heavens, You are there,
there too, if I lie in She’ol.
If I flew to the point of sunrise,
or westward across the sea,
Your hand would still be guiding me,
Your right hand holding me.
If I asked darkness to cover me,
and light to become night around me,
that darkness would not be dark to You,
night would be as light as day.
It was You who created my inmost self,
and put me together in my mother's womb;
for all these mysteries I thank You:
for the wonder of myself, for the wonder of Your works.
You know me through and through,
from having watched my bones take shape
when I was being formed in secret,
knitted together in the limbo of the womb.
You had scrutinized my every action,
all were recorded in Your book,
my days listed and determined,
even before the first of them occurred.
God, how hard it is to grasp Your thoughts!
How impossible to count them!
I could no more count them than I could the sand,
and suppose I could, You would still be with me.
God, if only You would kill the wicked!
Men of blood, away from me!
They talk blasphemously about You,
regard Your thoughts as nothing.
Yahweh, do I not hate those who hate You,
and loathe those who defy You?
I hate them with a total hatred,
I regard them as my own enemies.
God, examine me and know my heart,
probe me and know my thoughts;
make sure I do not follow pernicious ways,
and guide me in the way that is everlasting.
I offered this psalm, meditating on it quietly, as its healing and forgiving words cleansed me of my transgressions, cringing also when I came to the passage beginning ‘God, if only You would kill the wicked!’ and ending with ‘I hate them with a total hatred, I regard them as my own enemies.’ I cringe whenever I offer these words because, I know who the ‘wicked’ is—myself. I know that I, no less than others, blaspheme the Lord daily. I remember a prayer I once prayed, ‘Share with us who hate You by our deeds but love You by our sorrows,’ and that takes me back to the verse, ‘Yahweh, You examine me and know me.’ What a great God is our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we do these things!
After a pause, I continue, ‘I hate them with a total hatred, I regard them as my own enemies,’ and can only ask for mercy. Yes, Lord, though I hate You by my deeds, I love you by my sorrows, knowing that all that happens to me, even those ills I bring upon myself, are for the good of my soul, and heralds of my salvation. ‘O happy fault!’ the saints who know You have cried.
Yes, I regard them as my own enemies, and hate them, the only things that can lawfully be hated, one’s own faults, one’s weaknesses, one’s sin. Yet not I, nor anyone, can languish there, for the psalmist closes with the prayer that hovers over us, even when we are asleep physically or spiritually, ‘Examine me and know my heart, probe me and know my thoughts; make sure I do not follow pernicious ways, and guide me in the way that is everlasting.’
The Holy Spirit, who prays in us to the Father on our behalf in the most-high Name of Jesus, yes, He prays for us when we cannot, or will not, His faithfulness swallowing up our unfaithfulness by the Divine mercy.
I read and pray the remainder of the appointed psalms, then in thought reflect on the apostle’s words, ‘Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory,’ and the words of another well-beloved psalm, one sung on the eighth day, the day of my birth, nurse me through my mortality, as I remember the Day of Pentecost is coming in three days,
and my soul melts within me:
I am on my way
to the wonderful Tent,
to the House of God,
among cries of joy and praise
and an exultant throng.
join us with You in that Kingdom,
share with us who hate You by our deeds
but love You by our sorrows
that the Glory
that was Yours before the world ever was,
fell the forests of our sinful flesh,
that we might finally cry out to You,
Amen, and again we cry, Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us,
at 8:39 AM