Tuesday, November 8, 2005

faith:response

When I first began this blog back in June or whatever, I gave it the title Beloved Before Time. Why? Because, as you can see in the little description thingie to the right, I am coming to see true life as being something already fully accomplished, things that are "done deals." Wait a second, you ask, I've (hopefully) got many years yet to come. How can you say this?

Well, in reality, the Bible makes it clear that when it comes to being accepted by God and being loved by him, or living a God-honoring life in sync with how we were meant to live, everything is a matter of hearing God speak about what he has already done, is doing, or will certainly do, or what he has declared about us, and simply embracing its reality. God decided to adopt us as his children before time began (Eph 1.4-5). The covenant of blood securing our justification before God is equally ancient (Heb. 13.20-21). The decisive moment in history in which evil, sin, and the world were declared bankrupt of any lasting authority happened 1970 years ago upon a barren hillside outside of Jerusalem. Our sanctification is already complete (Heb 10.14). The apostle Paul even speaks of our future glorification in the past tense, a done deal (Rom 8.29-30). When Jesus cried out upon the cross, "It is finished," he wasn't talking about his life. Rather, he was talking about the moment in history to which all other moments point; the moment upon which all of the world's history past, present, and future will either be pierced unto death or unto repentance and life overflowing.
What God calls us to do is simply to embrace these realities. On the past event of the cross, we see the judgment of sin and the fact that God loves and forgives us. In the past event of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we see that eternal life is a reality to accept. It goes on like this. Even when Jeremiah was called into his prophetic role, he didn't hem and haw and fret nervously over what he should do. No, he learned that even before he was born God knew him and declared him to be a prophet to the nations (Jer 1.5). He found his life by responding to the already-conceived and declared word of God. Is this not the same for all of us?

I could wax about the beauty of the sacraments and they give our faith new life by serving as concrete symbols pointing us back to the cross and the purification purchased therein. Or I could go on with how I've been seeing this work out in the visions and oracles given to Zechariah--and I will. But until then I'll leave you with some related words from one of my favorite observers of life, Eugene Peterson:

Worship is the essential and central act of the Christian. We do many other things in preparation for and as a result of worship: sing, write, witness, heal, teach, paint, serve, help, build, clean, smile. But the centering act is worship. Worship is the act of giving committed attention to the being and action of God [not ourselves!]. The Christian life is posited on the faith that God is in action. When we worship, it doesn't look like we are doing much--and we aren't. We are looking at what God is doing and orienting our action to the compass points of creation and covenant, judgment and salvation (Reversed Thunder, pp. 140-141).*

The cry for and questioning of God's judgment, "How long?" is now established in its proper context, the act of worship. Judgment is ...
experienced as the long-ago launched, deeply worked out, thoroughly accomplished action of God which we entered into through our baptism, the consequences of which we share in our salvation, which we participate in by means of our worship, and the completion of which we already celebrate by means of word and sacrament (ibid, p. 144).

*
Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John & the Praying Imagination (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1988).

1 comment:

halfmom said...

So, if you decide you're not supposed to be either a missionary or a teacher you can always write for a living. "It is finished" - the pivot point of creation and time.