” Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked may be shaken out of it.” Said God to Job.
What’s your take on the Ford vs Kavennaugh debate? Someone lied. And lied repeatedly! And lied under oath!
Was Professor Ford mistaken? Did she accuse the wrong guy? Is she part of wicked liberal left wing plot to oppose everything and everyone connected with President Trump?
Was Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kevannaugh a ” sloppy drinker”? A guy who got drunk repeatedly in high school and at University? If so, if he lied on that issue, under oath, could he not have lied also about the ” bigger issue ” of sexual abuse?
So the upshot of all of this drama, these new development, in the US Senate hearings on whether or not Kavanaugh will be confirmed, is that the FBI is to undertake an investigation into the allegations made by Professor Ford. At the end of the day, credibility is not the issue. Nor the usefulness of a lie detector test. Not even the results of the FBI investigation, in and by itself. I’ll tell you why
Many years there was a song made famous by Dionne Warwick, no doubt composed by the fabulous song writing duo of Bert Bacharach and Hal David, entitled, ” What’s this all about Alfie “.
The answer in my head is that it’s all about ” Sin”. Not just high stakes American politics! Not only about women who have been sexually abused, #MeToo, coming forward to protest against this grave miscarriage of justice in America. Not only about CNN’S Cuomo and Don Lemon ( with his new -no- hair-style) taking up the fight, in the face of weak Democratic leadership, to counter ( and provide an alternate perspective) what Donald Trump is doing to important institutions in America; in their view.
Why do I say that Sin is at the heart of this debate. Two reasons.
One that I was led to read a Scrpiture Union meditation this week in which the writer mentioned that, Bill Maher, the famous American comedian and atheist, reportedly claimed that ” all that was once called sin, is now a disease”
This in an attempt to make sin ” out of vogue “. I wonder what category of disease, Bill Maher, this icon in the anti- religion, anti-church, anti- God, anti- Christian movement, would locate the unfettered misrepresentation of the truth, by one party, this week, in front of millions of people.
Two, is that the Gospel reading for the worldwide Anglican Church for this Sunday seems to have anticipated this event where Sin was paraded without apology.
Take a look:
THE WORD OF GOD – EXCERPT
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:41-48 KJV
Comment: So what we are talking about here is not just the bravery, and decency, of Rupublican Senator Jeff Flake. Not just the flip flipflop, the volte face behavior of Senator Lindsey Graham; no need for an investigation yesterday, with ‘attitude’, and with righteous indignation, and today a dramatic ‘ agreement with Senator Flake’. But rather, ” to be cast into hellfire” on account of unrepentant Sin. Definitely not a good place for anyone! To live in. Forever! And ever!
Perhaps this was the reason why I was led to write this note to some folks in my church yesterday:
The story continues: Last night I posted on Facebook that one of the most liberating passages of Scriptures is to be found in Romans; that in Christ Jesus, we have died. And just as how death has no more dominion over Christ, so we too, having died and raised with Christ in Baptism, ought to count ourselves dead to sin. Romans 6.
So this morning #earlymorningdevotions I am back to the readings for Sunday. And specifically the Gospel which speaks about the wrath of God for those who refuse to die to sin. If thy right hand offendeth thee….using the familiar KJV of this passage….cut it off….otherwise….what awaiteth is a place..”where the worm does not cease. Why? Because we are leading people astray, we are crucifying Christ all over again, when we refuse to die to sin. Lord have mercy on me a sinner…create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me…lest I be guilty of leading anyone astray. And it is not only the sins mentioned in Colossians.
Recently I read a reflection on how we break the Ten Commandments by the well known and highly respected theologian John Stott. And it comes to mind now in this context.
YOU SHALL NOT MURDER. This is not just about the crime of murder. After all, if looks could kill, many would kill with a look. And if murder can be committed by cutting words, many are clearly guilty. Indeed Jesus said that to be angry with someone without good reason, or to be insulting, are as serious as actually killing someone. John draws the right conclusion when he writes, ” Anyone who hates another believer is a murderer.” Every loss of temper, every outburst of uncontrolled passion, every stirring of sullen rage, every bitter resentment and thirsting for revenge – all these things are murder. We can kill by malicious gossip. We can kill by studied neglect and cruelty. We can kill by spite and jealousy. We have probably all done so.
The ethical bar of the Christian life is extremely high, viz., ‘ be holy as I am holy’. In thought word and deed. Thank God for Jesus and his blood on Calvary. For who is able! And for the Spirit of God, which came upon Eldad, and Medad. The same Spirit Who is available to us, and will help us to ” cut off the right hand” if it offendeth the Holy One of Israel. Lest we lead people astray!
Comment: Having written about murder in the email above, perhaps in the context of sexual assault and harassment, it may be useful for us to consider how often, using the high ethical bar that Christianity sets, we transgress the Commandment:
YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
Again, this commandment has a far wider application than being unfaithful in ( Christian) marriage. It includes any kind of sex outside the marriage relationship for which it was designed.
It also includes all sexual perversions, for although men and women are not necessarily responsible for the urges they have, they are responsible for what they do about them.
It includes selfish demands within marriage, and any behavior that drives a partner to want to end the relationship.
It includes the use of pornography, and giving in to impure fantasies. Jesus made this clear when he said, ” anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
Just to think murderous thoughts is to commit murder, so to think adulterous is to commit adultery. This commandment embraces every abuse of a sacred and beautiful gift of God.
From ” what’s it all about, to what’s to be done about it “. What hope is there for either Professor Ford or Brett Kavanaugh? What hope it there for you and I? Sinners all. What hope is there for Bill Maher. All of us guilty of breaking at least one, if not all God’s Commandments in one way shape or form!
Depends or whether or not we are sorry. Or just upset that we got caught! Big difference. Depends on whether or not we are prepared to ” cut off the right hand that offendeth thee”. Depends on how much we wish to avoid the fire that never ceases.
The referenced post on Facebook last night brings Good News. We don’t have to Sin. For our God is a God of mercy and compassion. Which is the message found in the Collect, the guiding prayer in the Anglican church for Sunday:
” O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity……”
One of the most liberating passages of Scripture. And of life! You have died in Christ” . And therefore , nothing can rule over you anymore. God’s gift of mercy and grace to all who are baptized. So count yourselves dead to sin, and fear, and doubt……..Satan has no more hold over you. For if the Son of man sets you free, you are free indeed. To be joyful, even in the midst of trials! #latenightreading #betterthanachampsticket. #betterthancnnprimetime
THE WORD OF GOD
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
Romans 6:3-12 NIV
That’s the Good News that Cuomo and Lennon et al on CNN need to spread abroad. That’s the Good News that ought to be on TVJ and CVM every night in prime time: to let our people know that we do not have to sin. To leave our children at home alone, and when trouble ” that don’t set like rain” comes, and the house catch afire, and innocents die. To ” put hand ” on our women and girl children, and stab and murder, and then go and commit suicide. To give guns to ” unattached youths “, and then lament the high murder rate in our country. That if we are baptized in Christ Jesus, we have died, and don’t have to tell lies in the Senate anymore. Nor in church. Nor at home. Nor anywhere. And face the possibility of dealing with unending fire in hell.
That’s why we sing like a renewed Wayne Marshall; almost an anthem in Jamaica. This as we closed the service in Majesty Gardens last Sunday. Glory to God indeed!
Verse 1: Wayne Marshall]
Our Redeemer, saving grace
I know I’m not worthy to see Your face
I try hard, but I make mistakes
You’re still by my side every step that I take
Through every heartache, a You get the praise
A You a me guide and me shield always
Every time me a gaze and a play hard ears
You still show mercy and keep me safe
[Chorus: Wayne Marshall]
Lord, I pray
I honor Your name
Deliver Your mercy
Whenever I fall, You lift me up
Glory to Thee, O God