What happened to the church in Jerusalem in AD 70 when the city was destroyed by Rome and Jews were banned from the city and the surrounding area?
Well I had never thought much about it till this question kept poking at me – and caused me to choose this to write about for my first church history paper.
I learned a lot of stuff I had never even been curious about. The person of James – as one author says – he may have been more concerned with purity than his older brother.
And I wonder what would have happened if Paul hadn’t fought so hard for freedom from the Torah law for the Gentiles.
History is very interesting as one starts to dig around.
The one being me.
The other day as I was driving back from Moose jaw towards Caronport I found myself looking off at the horizon and thinking; “God has made some beautiful country out here.” There is a hill actually that I had not paid attention to before and it caught my eye thinking of Psalm 121. “I lift my eyes up to the hills, Does my help come from there?” No. The presence of God does not depend on the presence of hills or mountains or trees or any created thing. They are nice to look at but they are really only signposts to the one who created them and who is always present.
Then I joined a house church group (which is really more like a small group than a separate church gathering) and the scripture we delved into was Psalm 121. I got to know some local people and I think I needed that as much as the reminder that God’s presence is constant – hills or no hills.
So this Sunday I am making a trek into Moose Jaw to check out the Anglican church which has a very welcoming web site and since I now know a couple others who attend there, I am hoping to find a home away from home there. I find myself longing for the richness of liturgy and should get a good dose there.
This morning I decided to attend one of the two churches in town. I suspect the are both fairly similar in their theologies but the one I went to is the more “laid back” I guess. The group calls itself “The Gathering” and there were probably 300+ people worshiping this morning. I may have been almost the most senior of the group. It was OK as far as a service went. The music was OK – most of the songs were familiar. The leader did go overboard a bit on her lyrical additions but I guess it wasn’t too much.
I sat by myself. After awhile a young woman and her child joined me and I didn’t feel quite so much by myself. But i did feel as if I would love to have someone notice that I was new, ask me my name, speak to me, welcome me, something. I guess with all the new students maybe there were just too many of us newcomers.
Lessons learned – never ignore a visitor. They may need to feel less alone.
So, I will see if this place is where I fit. I wish I could find someplace welcoming, with just enough liturgy to help me feel the richness of life in the body. Not stuffy but connected to the church universal in a significant way.
Rejoice in the LORD
Be glad, you pure hearted ones.
This purity is sheer
Gift, not some innate
Character of heart given
To some deserving souls
And not to others
Dammed before they even start.
No, this purity, this gift, pure grace
Undeserved, is free for all.
Even repeat sinners
Like me can take it
With dirty feet ready
For washing, hands open
With nothing to offer back
Be glad, pure hearted ones!
Jesus called his closest friends to share his final meal;
Those twelve beloved friends, a Covenant meal.
The Night of Great Remembrance rebirthed a new and greater one.
The betrayer ate. He was invited too. Loved as deeply.
A traitor among them; treacherous heart turning to stone.
“The one to whom I give the bread…”
Did their hands touch? Did Judas see the love filled eyes?
Body and blood choke his swallow as he cut himself out,
Leaving to do his evil task?
Last night we ate at this same table;
Our hands touched the body given;
Lips drank the offered life.
We saw his eyes of love and we remembered.
“Is this New Covenant table not a participation?”
Make us to be your body, Christ.
Pour your life blood ‘to us. Heal us
Of our betrayer hearts.
Raise us to this participation;
Reborn in you to bless the world.
Today I worshipped
And shiny glass bits
Washed up on shore.
Green and purple
Glass, edges rounded,
Tossed up by pounding waves.
Child’s treasure. Burnished glass
And pebble stones
Worn smooth at lakes edge.
Today I worshipped.
And the stones
Cried out his praises,
While I hunted treasures
With a little boy.