An excerpt from yesterday's sermon... (full text attached).

 

In leading His people out of the abusive slavery Pharaoh had imposed upon them, God left no doubt as to where real power and authority was to be found.  Pharaoh’s royal kingdom was simply obliterated.  But God doesn’t lead the people from Egypt into a similar kind of kingdom, but instead God gathers them into a covenant community, an alternative community based on the Commandments, which call the people to respond to God’s gracious and powerful actions on their behalf by committing themselves to loving and serving God and one another.

 

This becomes the foundation of prophetic consciousness.  God’s people were called to be holy, or set apart, from the other nations.  Sadly, as their history unfolds we see Israel turn away from living as a covenant community, and instead come to see themselves as superior to everyone else, and eventually expresses a desire to become like the other nations, demanding that they be given a king.  And with that, Israel begins a shift away from prophetic consciousness toward a royal consciousness.  And things soon really fall apart.

 

Yet, through the voices of the prophets, God appeals to the people to return to seeing themselves as a covenant community, as an alternative community centered on worshipping the one true God and living in such a way as to not only take care of each other, but to serve as a light to the other nations.  By living in accord with God’s design, others would be drawn toward God, thus fulfilling His promise that through the descendants of Abraham, all of the nations of the world would be blessed.  But Israel ignored, mocked, abused, and even killed the prophets, opting instead to live according to the royal consciousness mindset… which, quite frankly, works best in a world where self-centered sinfulness rules the day.

 

Make no mistake about it: God has never abandoned His desire that His children would live lives different than where the devil, the world, and our sinful selves would lead us.  God calls us out of that broken way of thinking and living and calls us into extraordinary lives.  God calls us, God urges us, God beckons us… but God never forces us.  Grace comes to us as sheer gift.  Our response to grace is where our choice and our actions come into play.

 

With You in His Love,

Mark

 

 

   November 2018   
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