Good Friday Meditation

Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all? Can any man be found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly weals on shoulders and chest, and drawing the breath of life amid long-drawn-out agony? He would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross.

Seneca, Epistle to Lucius

[T]he executioner, the veiling of the head and the very word “cross” should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen but his thoughts, his eyes and his ears. For it is not only the actual occurrence of these things but the very mention of them, that is unworthy of a Roman citizen and a free man.

Cicero, Pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God… For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24, 18

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:6-8

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Why do you go to church?

This definately falls into the “don’t know whether to laugh or cry” category, but watch this video, and you’ll see what I mean.

But there is an important point here, isn’t there? Rather than point the finger at churches, let’s examine our own hearts. Why do you go to church? I’m sure you could give me some answers: fellowship, worship, hearing the Word read and preached. You probably know Acts 2:42 well enough to know that your answer correspond very closely to that text. And so it should.

But let’s me a bit more specific. Why did you go to church yesterday? Habit? Do take part in the service or some ministry? To meet friends? Because it was Sunday?

It’s easy to lose the big picture on a day-to-day basis, isn’t it? It would be wonderful if I could tell you that yesterday I woke up bright and early, delighted that it was the Lord’s Day, and I could spend a day set apart, worshipping Him, being with His people, speaking to others about Him, praying to Him, giving to Him, serving Him. Instead, I woke up wondering vaguely whether how many times I could afford to press the snooze button on the alarm clock.

Acts 2:42 does not only tell us how the church should behave – it tells us how we should respond. So if by the grace of God we are fortunate enough to go to a God-centered church, let’s “be filled with awe”, let’s “continue to meet together” – midweek as well as the Lord’s day. Let’s ensure we have “glad and sincere hearts”. Let’s “praise God”. And let’s do that every Sunday!

Worship Wars

Thankfully, it seems as though Worship Wars are starting to peter out, though occassionally some try and re-ignite them. Mark Lauterbach has a wonderfully balanced piece about these darker days. Let me give you a few excerpts, then you can read the post for yourself.

…the Gospel is a simple message and it can be applied in any culture. It is not time bound nor culture bound. Two centuries ago it showed up in hymnology. Today it is seen in the contemporary style of music.

Most of the wars about worship were about style. Sadly, no one really cared for the words being sung. Granted, much of the contemporary music being advocated was “songs that express how I feel about Jesus” — and much of the hynology had far more substance. But that was rarely the battle…

…unbelievers are not impressed with our style. What captures their hearts is not our great musical productions or coolness of music — they are captured by the love of God’s people, by their sincere and passionate joy in whatever they sing. They sense the active presence of the Spirit.