Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The inner struggle

We are frequently in conflict with our own nature... We have an instinct to stand up against oppression, to cheer for the under dog, to reject marginalization, and shout at the top of our lungs when we see injustice.


We are also creatures shaped by our culture of greed and self loathing. We long for the things that are out of our reach, just a little better than what we have now. Those things that we are told will satisfy our cravings, and make us better more fulfilled people. And we are urged, by subtle and not so subtle messages, to look the other way over some injustices to get these things (as if the ends justify the means).

An Inner voice can urge us to dive into an icy river and save a child from drowning. Another inner voice can urge a us to pocket a bracelet from a jewelry box when visiting a forgetful elderly relative.

Learning to tell these voices apart is the work of a lifetime, because the selfish voice can mimic a very convincing imitation of the other when we are willing to let ourselves be deceived. The Problem is our deep longing for Glory...

Yes thats right GLORY... But what is Glory?

Is it one of those things that you sing about, read about, maybe even talk about, especially if you have been around a church for any length of time. But what does it mean “Glory to God in the highest?”

To help us unpack this a little lets look at the word Glory a little, as it appears in the scriptures.

The word glory is a very complex nuanced sort of word...

Psa 19:1
For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The Hebrew word for Glory is the word kabowd (kä·bode')
and it means :
honor, glorious, abundance, riches, splendor, glory

And it comes from the root word kä·bad'
Which means to be heavy, or weighty

The heavens declare the Kabowd of God ?

If you want to get a good perspective on this spend some time looking at the stars , maybe through a telescope, or watching an eclipse or mediator storm.

When I was a kid my dad took me out in the country away from all the man made lights to watch a mediator storm first hand...
I was struck by the idea that these rocks, which use to be part of something else much larger, and had been flying through space for who knows how long, were crashing into our earth our home. They had traveled perhaps millions of light years, much farther than even our strongest telescopes can see. And now they were burning up in our atmosphere.
Which is another good point, we live on a planet that is designed to protect us from all of this floating space junk...

Do you get a feel for how big the universe is?

Kabwod is heavy, signifying that other things are light, temporary, Its as if the wind could blow at any minute and they would be gone...

Dust & Rust
Everything eventually turns to dust and rust

Advisers spend a lot of energy convincing us that we will be happy if we just buy that new shiny car... But after a few years, especially if you live in a cold climate where they spread copious amounts of salt on the roads, it starts to turn into rust.

This is the case for everything we lust or long for. (even other people) They always return to Dust or rust.

Kabowd is like the kick drum of the universe, its what happens when you come face to face with the bigness of the universe and you are reminded of the proper proportions of the universe and that you are not the most important thing in it!

But the scriptures have a little more to say about Us (humans) and Glory...

Psa 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,Psa 8:4what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?Psa 8:5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

We are crowned with Kabowd?What does it mean?This is why when you hear a story, like of slaves beining set free...


Like of homeless people being fed and clothed...


Like of a community garden where people work together shoulder to shoulder and then give the extra food to people who are hungry...

This is why you feel that leap in your heart, why you are like,


We are hard wired for Kabowd...And yet we continually seek that feeling in so many other ways...

And we live in a culture that promises to fulfill that yearning that need for Glory in a million ways. Marketers invent a new way to fall into debt every day. That is they try to convince us that they have tapped into a new way to find fulfillment and happiness...

But it is all Dust and Rust!

It should not be lost on us that the neon lights and the bright security lights drown out the stars.

If you want to see the stars, to be reminded of the Kabowd of God, you have to escape all of that.

So one of the central if not the central claim of Jesus is this...

Gods Glory has come to earth! The fulfillment of the very things we long for the very things that our culture trys to sell us, but always falls short, is present and is at hand. It has arrived and is available for anyone who is willing to accept it.But only if you are willing to let go of all the lies, of all the dust and rust that our culture sells us!
Are you willing to let Go?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


"A little church on Sunday morning is a negligible thing. It may be the meekest, and least conspicuous, thing in America. Someone zipping between Baltimore’s airport and beltway might pass this one, a little stone church drowsing like a hen at the corner of Maple and Camp Meade Road. At dawn all is silent, except for the click every thirty seconds as the oblivious traffic light rotates through its cycle. The building’s bell tower out of proportion, too large and squat and short to match. Other than that, there’s nothing much to catch the eye.

In a few hours heaven will strike earth like lightning on this spot. The worshipers in this little building will be swept into a divine worship that proceeds eternally, grand with seraphim and incense and God enthroned, “high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). The foundations of that temple shake with the voice of angels calling “Holy” to each other, and we will be there, lifting fallible voices in the refrain, an outpost of eternity.

If this is true, it is the most astonishing thing that will happen in our city today."

- Frederica Mathewes-Green

This is an amazing concept... How much have we missed the wonder of what happens in our presence as we encounter His presence?

How much have we dismissed the gathering of believers, because it seems to be a dead ritual?

Yes many, perhaps most, times it is dead or dying. The Church in North America is constricted with atrophy. But The spirit of God desires to break through and reanimate us.

The real question is do we desire it?

Will we be an outpost of eternity?
Will we just do business as usual?