Rob Bell is a great communicator. In his new film “Resurrection” he’s almost like a performance artist, and the result is a very engaging 4 minutes. But the real power lies in the good news he is proclaiming. Take a look!
Christ is risen!
Field notes on life and mission with God in post-Christendom
Sort of… that’s a provocative title for this provocative little “ecclesial gloss” on Isaiah 1:10-17 I found at Inhabitio Dei (a theological-ish blog):
Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Rome and Constantinople!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
you people of Grand Rapids and Wheaton!
What do I care about the multitude of your Eucharists?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of your broken bread
and piously drunk wine;
I do not delight in your baptisms,
of children, or of adults.
When you come to worship before me,
who asked you to do this?
Stop making the gathering of my people a sham;
bringing eloquent homilies is futile; expository preaching is an abomination to me.
Your Sunday mornings and and your liturgical calendars—
I cannot endure your ecclesial practices when there is idolatry.
Your Christian year and your holy feast days
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
Repent! Change how your are living;
get your idolatry out of my sight;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
It represents the way we probably ought to be reading OT Scriptures. Also reminds me of a Jon Foreman song based on the same passage, which you can listen to by clicking on the video below (I’ve also put the lyrics below the video). Enjoy your conviction! Pesky prophets…
Merry Christmas! If you have a few minutes, I think you will be greatly encouraged by reading the following Christmas sermon from St. Gregory Nazianzus, a 4th century Christian bishop. We Christians been commemorating the Incarnation for a hundreds of years, and it’s good sometimes to hear ancient voices preach it to us in ways only they can.
The version below was paraphrased by Nathan Nettleton, of Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources. Christ is born, let us glorify Him!
Christ is Born, let us glorify Him!
Christ has come from heaven,
let us go out to meet Him.
Christ is on earth,
and yet still is exalted above the earth.
Let the heavens rejoice,
and let the earth be glad;
our joy is in the one who belongs to heaven
and who now belongs to the earth.
Christ has come in human flesh.
We rejoice with trembling and with joy;
with trembling because of our sins,
with joy because of our hope.
How could we not worship Him who
existed from the very beginning?
How could we not glorify Him who
will go on existing at the very end?
Check out this video of Walter Brueggeman talking about the task of preaching. Two takeaway quotes:
“If you want the congregation to have missional energy and all of that, preaching is the pivot point for all of it.”
Convicting! (Thanks Gerald, for the link).
Michael Spencer has a post up that encapsulates most of why I like using the liturgical calendar as a basis for worship and Christian living.
I would argue (in addition to Michael's points) that how we celebrate time deeply shapes us as people, and increasingly, American holidays are shaping us as sentimental consumers, and the Christian year shapes us around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Case in point, Spencer points out that no church he was part of when he was younger ever chose Pentecost over Mother's Day. To put it baldly, we exalt the nuclear family over the Holy Spirit's work in the church, and part of the reason is that, for most evangelical Christians, Mother's Day is an obligatory holiday and Pentecost feels optional.
Here's a great quote that starts the post:
Read Michael's post for more good (and practical) thoughts on using the lectionary and Christian year as a basis for local church worship.