GNB 76

August 12, 2022

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells? Yes, the very same Holy Spirit in you whom you have received [as a blessing] from God! You are not your own. You were bought [sealed] at a cost [dear to God.] Therefore, honor God [who has given you the great gift] with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6.19-20)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

The last two days, I have reflected on the question “What would the Church, inclusive of ‘what would we,’ look like if we believed, received and obeyed the Word of God with proper priority?” After spending time speaking to the identity of believers in God through Jesus Christ as those “clothed in righteousness,” both inwardly and outwardly, I am led to grapple with this scripture in our current context. First, let me speak for my own clarification that the “outward” clothing of righteousness must not be confused with what we wear and how we adorn our bodies, though I feel we have lost some propriety in that area. In truth, the “outward” clothing of righteousness is the manifestation of the inward Spirit at work in us. The Holy Spirit was promised to all believers with a purpose. As we read the monologue with the disciples and the dialogue with God which Jesus has immediately following the sharing of the “bread and cup” of the Last Supper, we are given specific talking points as to the purpose, place and provision Jesus understood about the Holy Spirit He asked God to pour out on us. (Yes, I know that is a long sentence. I have read back through it to pare it down but as a stream of living water flowing from the fount of God in His Spirit, I dare not interrupt.) It is by our outward witness and testimony that we verify and validate or nullify and negate, the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. And this is where my thoughts were led to today. It is a reflection I have to take seriously because I, too, have kept my mirror cloudy. It is easily muddied just like stepping into calm water that has not been visited in some time. When I put myself into it, I stir up what has “settled” to the bottom and not been washed away. I have watched, and watch still, the events of this age unfold. I am speaking of “The Age, too,” in which Jesus promised He would be with us through until the end of it. So, for clarification, I am talking about the “age of humanity” and the “age of the Church.” It would seem that the participants in those ages are doing their best to live separate lives and avoid conflict. However, in the roiling of the waters of life, the conflict is occurring and inevitable. Jesus foresaw it, just as God did, because all courses of life have been travelled by them to their conclusion. It is similar in description to the scenario in the Matthew Broderick movie “War Games.” In that movie, a super computer called the W.H.O.P.P.E.R., is the central brain for all the nuclear weapons in the possession of the United States. By default, it controls all nuclear weapons in the world with the push of a button or a flip of the switch to initiate an attack launch. When the code is given accidentally, it becomes the premise the movie that the computer must put a stop to what it started. How? By convincing it that a nuclear launch starts what it cannot finish: there are no winners. Of course, it is a movie of social and political commentary. But, as it learns through the playing out of all possible created scenarios of launch and effect, the conclusion is reached that this is no game, not one that can be won and therefore not one that should be played. I believe the Godhead has played out all the possible scenarios available in the “age of humanity” from its inception. Factoring in the necessary element of freewill, the possibilities are seemingly endless as to where we will go and what we will do. However, there is only one conclusion that is left. There is only one goal that justifies the whole endeavor. That goal is to “abide in the presence of God whether we are on earth or in Heaven.”

Now this is my quandary. It would seem that in this age, whether that of humanity or the Church, there seems to be a climaxing movement toward a denial of our created identity. The goal, I fear, is that in the promotion of self and centering on the “me” we are seeing a movement away from God. We will reach a point where we will deny our very own existence and be left with nothing but chaos. There is so much effort to redefine our “image” that we are becoming blinded to the “image” in which we have been created. We are working diligently to deny our “essential self.” That self, mind you, is the very image of the Godhead: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The elements of and identity with all three in unison creates the image of being “clothed with righteousness.” The problem happens when we want to change the image and attempt to clothe ourselves with things that cannot satisfy the longing in each of our hearts, mind, body and soul. Yes, I did not mention “spirit” because there is only “one” spirit, “one” Lord, “one” faith, “one” baptism and “one” God.” We can alter our DNA all we want but we will never be able to identity and eliminate the one strand of sequencing that makes us truly alive from the inside out. For all the promise of artificial intelligence, only God can create a soul and input the necessary Holy Spirit in it that gives us true life. That is why Jesus asked God to invest that gift again, a necessary reboot if you will, so that those whose waters of life had become so muddied that they lost sight of themselves and Him could see and be “again.”

We are and have always been intended to reflect the image of our creator, Yahweh Elohim. The world can deny the very existence of God and thus its own true identity with all its power and vehemence. But, as Jesus asked Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road, “Why are you kicking against the goads?” We, as mighty ones of God, believers in the way of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Son and our Savior, know that there is an inevitable conclusion to all our journeys. Each and everyone of us will come face to face in a mirror that is not muddied. We will see the truth as it has always been as to the nature, character, meaning, purpose and existence of the Only True God. In that face of reality, we will see ourselves equally clear. Either we will see it “by faith” or see it “by sight.” By faith, we will see the sins have been washed away, our bodies washed as clean as the pure driven snow, we are clothed in the robe of righteousness and knowing all the while we could not do this ourselves nor on our own volition except to confess our sins and profess Jesus as Savior. By sight, we will see the chasm that is fixed between us and the hope of happiness, peace, and well-being for which we longed and long searched. It is a chasm that cannot be reached across in that moment of time. Before that moment, on that Day, Jesus was the “way, truth and life” by which we could see “by faith” our way through this world sadly broken in the conflict of war between Lucifer and God. It has been a worship battle of who will worship one or the Other. Sadly, we are being overwhelmed in every age with the “worship of one and not the Other.” The time has come for us to “worship the Lord our God and Him only who is perfectly revealed in the person of Jesus Christ in whose image we have been created and can be recreated again.

OUR CALL TO PRAYER:

Holy God, You are indeed worthy of all praise. I wish I could praise You even more and lead others to do so as well. Help me to reflect more perfectly the image in which I have been recreated when I confessed who I am and professed the I AM as my only true option for living confidently in the way I have been made to go. I go not by force but by choice. I choose You. AMEN.

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