GM: I ARISE TODAY TO BE OBEDIENT TO THE WILL OF GOD; UNITY OF THE CHURCH
I ‘happened’ upon this meditation this week. On two separate occasions!
At a time when the big talking point worldwide, is #Brexit; the decision by the British to Leave the European Union.
The reaction to this breakdown in the unity of one of the most powerful trading blocs in the world was swift.
The British currency lost 8% of it’s value! Stock markets across the world lost value! As investors and the common man alike responded nervously to this ‘ divorce ‘. These uncharted waters! This strange valley!
And who knows what long term effect may accompany this decision. The breakup of Great Britain! Reduction in remittances to Jamaica! Changes in our bilateral agreements!
In this respect, the Christian faith has much to offer the world in troubled times. As regardless of the circumstances, death, sickness, financial ruin, persecution, relationship issues, Crime and Violence blighting a nation’s future, road deaths robbing a nation of it’s human resources, in Christ, we are assured, that even ‘ in the valley of the shadow of death’, we will ‘ arise again’.
So let us be of good courage as we face this uncertain future wrought by #Brexit.
I ARISE TODAY
Patrick of Ireland ( 390-461….helped to share the good news in Ireland. #StPatricksDay)
Verse: Psalm 23:4….though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From the snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar or anear,
Alone or in a multitude
However, there is a second, and in my mind, a more important lesson we need to learn from #Brexit. And an old Jamaican saying captures it very well.
” Take sleep and mark death”.
In the sense that we need to learn important lessons from life’s events.
And it cannot be by coincidence that I sent the following email to some praying friends this week. Why! A dear friend and patient who is a Seventh Day Adventist died recently, and I’ve been requested to give a tribute at the funeral. I, an Anglican, and she a SDA.
Thus were the seeds sown about the importance of the Unity of The Church.
And this, not in the context of an international crisis, of sorts, but a local one. The continued high Murder rate, and level of Violence and aggressiveness, which in combination, is blighting the future of Jamaica! A reality which is causing many to #Jamexit.
The Email – edited
When I receive a revelation from the Lord I don’t normally consult. So this is not a plea for deeper understanding but for prayer for more revelation.
It began in Church yesterday, after Holy Communion. Reflection on ” Here O my Lord I see thee face to face……and on thee all my weariness lean”.
So I prayed about, and pondered on, what understanding of Jesus can unify the Church. For example, an acceptance that we are all wretches. For our Lord was sent by the Father to call sinners to repentance…….
That Jesus died for all mankind; no one is excluded from grace.
Then it continued last night, as my ‘ song in a difficult night’ was Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17.
And as I read 13-17, ‘ things He said on the night before He died, that would bring ‘ peace’, even in the midst of persecution ( end of 16), twice, one with a twist, the declaration appeared ‘ that the world may believe that You sent me’. One in 17, following a prayer ‘ that they all may be one… in us.
And one in 13, ‘ that you love one another. Just as I have loved you …..by this every one will know that you are my disciples.
So the issue of unity, so that the world ( on Twitter, in Majesty Gardens, our next door neighbour, the Gay community, ragamuffin) may know that God, in love, and sent Jesus to call sinners to repentance on Calvary, ought to occupy and exercise our ‘ Elijah in the cave ‘, mind, a lot.
Everything else then depends on the work of the Holy Spirit, once we are faithful to our mandate – to be one with each other and with God in Christ. The great challenge for the Church in every age! And therefore not to get distracted with ‘ other mandates ‘
So how do Adventists, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Church of God, Methodists, United Church, Moravians, Anglicans and all Evangelicals achieve this Unity?……..
Comment: One of the great scandals, and one of the causes of it’s loss of influence in our societies, of the Church over the centuries, has been the lack of Unity. This was never the intention of Jesus. For His Prayer is very explicit. That in order for the World, the unbelieving people, to truly know that He was sent by The Father, we the Baptized need to ‘ one with each other, as Christ was one with the Father’.
So all the crusades in the world, all the evangelistic missions, all the fasting services, will be of little moment, in the building of God’s Kingdom, if we are not one with each other.
For ‘ it is not by might not by power, but by by God’s will’, that people are convicted of Sin and drawn to ‘ follow Christ ‘.
Therefore, this concept of the Adventist Church out there doing ‘ it’s thing’; and the Roman Catholics, Church of God, Anglicans, United Church, Moravian, Baptist, Methodists and all the Evangelicals doing ‘ their thing’, has no precedence in the New Testament. And flies in the face of the High Priestly Prayer of Christ.
In the same way that a Christian cannot exist by her or himself. No matter how ‘holy’, they maybe.
And our society which has descended into the vortex of the ‘ valley of the shadow of death’, literally, cannot be rescued by a fractured and divided church.
The frightening thing, is that despite the ‘ hype’ surrounding the new Prime Minister, the debate about who ought to be the next Leader of the Opposition, the role of the IMF, the IADB, the EU ( less one star), there is nobody else, no other institution, ordained by God to rescue a ‘ broken world’.
One may very well then pose the question, what does it mean to be ‘ one in Christ ‘?
But I would respectfully submit that, such a response betrays a lack of a sense of urgency, and a continued desire to be disobedient and to ‘ chart our own course ‘.
For our only response to a Prayer from God Himself, is to be determined through prayer and waiting upon the Lord, to, with all the power available in our souls, pursue this Unity of The Church. At all cost!
Then God Himself will ‘ direct our paths’. But first the desire to be obedient must be in our hearts.
So in pursuit of this Unity, and to rescue our nation from madness, ought not the Adventists and the Roman Catholics, the Baptists, the Methodists, The United Church, the Church of God, the Pentecostal, the Anglicans, and all the Evangelical churches praying and fasting, at least in the first instance, about this God demanded Unity?
If not, like #Brexit, you believe that you can go it alone. And while that kind of attitude may or may not be beneficial to the Brits on the long run, we know that disobedience to God, always leads to disaster. Everytime. Ask Pharoah!
And a missed opportunity to witness to the love that God has i for this broken violent world in and through Christ Jesus. In Whom alone, we find Unity.