After lunch today, Ethan and I dropped off at the barber shop and then walked home after our haircuts. Here was the highlight of our conversation for me:
Daddio: So, Bud, what do you think you might want to do when you grow up?
Ethan: I don’t know. Hang out with you and watch football.
I watch 3 or 4 football games a year, but hey, I’ll plan on watching more right now!
I also had to chuckle when we were discussing how it’s polite for a man to walk closest to the road when he’s walking with a lady, but that conversation stopped abruptly when Ethan spied two dirt bikes on a trailer parked alongside the road.
Ethan: Daddio, I want one like that blue one.
Daddio: That would be pretty cool.
Ethan: Yeah, and I’ll get you one like that red one.
How can you argue with those plans? Sounds like I’m going to become a dirt bike rider.
I get some of the strangest questions, but I think they are often questions that many people think, even if only a few verbalize them.
Q: So, if keeping God’s law means as much as not keeping God’s law, why keep it?
A: That is like asking, now that I’m married why do I attempt to please my wife? If I displease my wife does that mean that I am unmarried? No, the state of marriage is not made nor unmade by my keeping of the “honey-do list”. Similarly, our relationship with God is forged by our acceptance of His work on our behalf. It is not made by our keeping of His commandments, nor is it unmade by our failure to keep His commandments, and yet it is still true that “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
I think this is precisely the type of thinking St. Paul had in mind when he penned:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2 ESV)
I’m convinced that victory over besetting sin is secured by a pattern of small, seemingly unrelated, ostensibly insignificant decisions, which add up to a life-style of holiness. Make the right decision repeatedly, at any moment, on sundry topics…and it becomes a force of habit more powerful (and more nurtured) than the force of selfish lust.
So help us, God.
I’m sitting in the audience of my own sermon feeling the conviction too!
There is no greater war than that we wage with our fleshly nature. Epic tales of heroic deeds pale in comparison to the battle each must wage with himself. Indeed, perhaps all legendary tales are but a metaphor of the grand struggle within each of us.
“I wrestle not against flesh and blood,” yet I wrestle with flesh and blood as my arsenal, and indeed, as the battlefield itself.
I’ve been going to church my entire life. I’ve been to Baptist churches, Bible churches, Evangelical Free churches, Presbyterian churches, Plymouth Brethren churches, non-denominational churches, Charismatic churches, Missionary churches and the list goes on, but before this morning I have never seen what I witnessed today.
This morning our family visited St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Ft. Wayne. The rector, Fr. Dan Layden, was on vacation and they don’t have a deacon, so they celebrated Morning Prayer instead of Holy Eucharist, which was nice actually as I really enjoy the Morning Prayer service.
Anyway, what struck me was that after collecting the offering they actually took it up to the altar and elevated it before the Lord! I couldn’t believe it; every church in the world should do this. The consciousness of bringing the Lord an offering was the most palpable I have ever experienced.
Just one more reason I so appreciate the Anglican Way. No other tradition has so well maintained an awareness of our connectedness to the Temple service, while also balancing the values highlighted by the Reformation.