Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Gore: divisions in the Christian Church

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
    Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
Meditation:
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
    —Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
Quotation:
    Do we habitually remember how it offends our Lord to see divisions in the Christian Church, nations nominally Christian armed to the teeth against one another, class against class and individual against individual in fierce and relentless competition, jealousies among clergy and church-workers, communicants who forget that the sacrament of union with Christ is the sacrament of union with their fellow men?
    Christians are to be the makers of Christ’s peace. Something we can all do [is] to reconcile individuals, families, classes, churches, nations. The question is, Are we, as churchmen and citizens, by work and by prayer, in our private conduct and our public action, doing our utmost with deliberate, calculated, unsparing effort? If so, our benediction is of the highest: it is to be, and to be acknowledged as being, sons of God.
    ... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Sermon on the Mount [1910], London: John Murray, 1905, p. 43 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 5:9,23-26; Rom. 8:14; 15:5-7; 1 Cor. 1:13
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant that I shall be an instrument of Your peace.
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Donne: a frivolous view of sin

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
    Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.
    “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
    “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
    —Matthew 22:11-14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Consider the insupportable penances that were laid upon sinners, by those penitential canons, that went through the church in those primitive times; when for many sins which we pass through now, without so much as taking knowledge that they are sins, men were not admitted to the Communion all their lives—no, nor easily upon their death-beds. Consider how dangerously an abuse of that great doctrine of Predestination may bring thee to thinke, that God is bound to thee, and thou not bound to him; that thou mayest renounce him, and he must embrace thee, and so make thee too familiar with God, and too homely with religion, upon presumption of a decree.
    ... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LXVIII, p. 216 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 22:11-14; Ps. 65:5; Mark 16:16; Rom. 8:29
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may I never presume upon Your mercy.
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Monday, March 30, 2020

Ramsay: the Ascension

Monday, March 30, 2020
Meditation:
    After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
    “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
    —Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [Continued from yesterday]
    After this conviction was produced, we come to the final stage, the apparent departure of the embodied Divine Nature, the man Jesus, from the world. The earthly period had fulfilled its purpose and reached its climax. This is the Ascension. This term, like many of the other words which must be employed by man in discussing the subject, is an attempt to express Divine truth—which as Divine is not subject to worldly conditions—in the language of human imperfection. The Divine Nature is omnipresent. It does not lie more in one direction from us than in another; it is neither above nor below: it is everywhere. To say that Jesus went up into heaven is a merely symbolic expression; it has not a local significance; it is an emblematic statement of the truth. The truth which has to be conceived in the mind is that, at the due stage and the proper moment, Jesus ceased to be apparent to human senses in the world, and is God with God.
    ... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), Pictures of the Apostolic Church, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910, p. 2-3 (see the book)
    See also Acts 1:8-11; Luke 24:46-53; John 1:1,14; 1 Cor. 15:3-9; 1 John 4:8-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your authority is without limit.
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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ramsay: witnesses to the Resurrection

Sunday, March 29, 2020
    Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
Meditation:
    ... but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
    —2 Timothy 1:10 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [Continued from yesterday]
    It was therefore an essential part of the Divine purpose, that those who had known the Divine Word in its human expression as the man Jesus, should become aware that death had no real power over Him. This result was accomplished by various events after such fashion that a sufficient number of persons were firmly convinced of the truth, and constituted a body of witnesses whose evidence might convince the world and give effect to the Divine will. [Continued tomorrow]
    ... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), Pictures of the Apostolic Church, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910, p. 2 (see the book)
    See also 2 Tim. 1:8-10; Luke 24:46-51; John 1:1,14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-9; 1 John 4:8-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have conquered death.
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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Ramsay: the Divine Nature

Saturday, March 28, 2020
Meditation:
    I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
    —Revelation 22:13 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The central idea of the Christian religion, the idea which cannot be doubted or minimized without sacrificing the essential truth of Christianity, is that God, who had always through His messengers and prophets communicated His word to man, at last, as the climax of His grace, sent His only Son into the world. The Divine Nature, which is omnipresent and eternal, free from the human limitations of space and time, materialized itself in human form upon the earth, voluntarily subjecting itself to those limitations and yet continuing to be Divine... In so far as it was human, this expression of the Divine Nature in the world must have a beginning, a history for a term of years, and an end, i.e., a birth, life, and death. Yet, on the other hand, as being Divine, it was preexistent and deathless. The Word was in the beginning, and the Word was God. Birth and death have no bearing on the eternal Divine Nature. Thus the Divine Nature makes itself in appearance to us double, and this double nature is called by the terms Father and Son, which must of course be regarded as symbolical names attempting to make the Divine mystery intelligible to the human mind with its necessarily limited powers of understanding. [Continued tomorrow]
    ... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), Pictures of the Apostolic Church, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910, p. 1-2 (see the book)
    See also Rev. 22:13; Luke 24:46-51; John 1:1,14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-9; 1 John 4:2-10; 2 John 7
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord Jesus, I confess that You are God in the flesh.
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Friday, March 27, 2020

Niebuhr: taking sinfulness seriously

Friday, March 27, 2020
Meditation:
    How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
    —Hebrews 9:14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The Christian faith believes that the Atonement reveals God’s mercy as an ultimate resource by which God alone overcomes the judgment which sin deserves. If this final truth of the Christian religion has no meaning to modern men, including modern Christians, that is because even the tragic character of contemporary history has not yet persuaded them to take the fact of human sinfulness seriously.
    ... Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), Christianity and Power Politics, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1940, reprint, Archon Books, 1969, p. 21 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 20:28; Luke 6:36; John 3:16; Rom. 3:22-26; 5:11; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:7-27; 1 John 4:9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, show us our sin.
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Taylor: Fix my thought

Thursday, March 26, 2020
    Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
Meditation:
    “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
    “Yes,” they replied.
    He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
    —Matthew 13:51-52 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Fix my thoughts, my hopes, and my desires, upon heaven and heavenly things; teach me to despise the world, to repent me deeply for my sins; give me holy purposes of amendment, and [spiritual] strength and assistances to perform faithfully whatsoever I shall intend piously. Enrich my understanding with an eternal treasure of Divine Truths, that I may know thy will: and thou, who workest in us to will and to do of Thy good pleasure, teach me to obey all Thy commandments, to believe all Thy revelations, and make me partaker of all Thy gracious promises.
    ... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 34 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 13:51-52; Ps. 25:1-5; 119:11-12,25-40,64-68; Matt. 13:34-35
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your presence and purpose strengthen me.
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