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Psalm 24
 
The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! (ESV)
Preach the Word
Tuesday of Pentecost 21
20 October 2015
When Jesus made His way into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday He told the carping religious leaders that the very stones would cry out in testimony to His messianic ministry to save the world through His life, death, and resurrection. Every voice was raised to praise the God who had determined to save His people through the work of Christ, now arriving for His enthronement on the cross. The human voice will praise God one way or another. He will be revealed to the world as the saving God either through the voice of faith or by the stones cast by those who hate God's salvation. God calls us to repent of our silence. Our stony hearts must be broken unto speech. He feeds His Word to us that we might re-say what He has said to us in His Son. Speaking for God is speaking with God. This is an act of fellowship; that God has so graciously given His Word over into our mouths to be spoken with Him and for Him.
 
We will raise our voices to confess the divine truth, because there is no option. Either we will speak or God will find another way to proclaim His salvation to the world. He does not call us to ensure the result of our speaking. This should not concern us, for it is His Word. He will bring the fruit. We should trust His promise that the fields are white unto harvest. We should not believe our reason or senses. They will tell us that the truth is not in vogue, that people are leaving the church, that we are aging into oblivion, and that we will die out in a generation. What arrogance there is in this calculus! We are telling our gracious heavenly Father that what He sees, we can see better, and what He promises, we can deny. We should be praying the Lord of the harvest that He would send laborers into those fields white unto harvest (Mt 9:37-38), instead of being so doubtful.
 
You may say, "No one is listening right now." Yes, it seems that everyone is concerned about their own affairs that they have no time to listen to the Lord and His messengers. Everyone is capable of pleading that they are too busy with work, children, home, vacation plans, etc. Then who will speak for the Lord? If we turn our hearts to stone because we are careless about the business of the Lord, is there not the threat that He will crush us into speaking for Him? Did not the very rubble of Jerusalem speak eloquently of the Lord's freedom and His burning wrath against complacency? The stones spoke. We are called to proclaim the truth of the Lord even when we think that none are listening. The Apostle commanded: "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2Ti 4:2). There are many times when proclaiming the Word of God is supremely inconvenient to you. However, such inconvenience to you is the cross-shaped character of speaking for God. Such speaking, even if no one appears to be listening, will still be praise of God. And you will let God use His Word how He sees fit to use it. We must not remain silent, for God will speak.

 

Gregory Nazianzus

"Those who are angry with us on the ground that we are bringing in a strange or interposed God, namely the Holy Spirit, and who fight so very hard for the letter, should know that they are afraid where there is nothing to fear (Ps 53:5). I would have them clearly understand that their love for the letter is but a cloak for their unbelief, as shall be shown later on, when we refute their objections to the utmost of our ability. But we have so much confidence in the deity of the Spirit whom we adore, that we will begin our teaching concerning His godhead by fitting to Him the names that belong to the Trinity, even though some persons may think us too bold. The Father was the true light which enlightens every man coming into the world. The Son was the true light which lightens every man coming into the world. The other Comforter was the true light which enlightens every man coming into the world (Jn 1:9). Was and was and was, but was one thing. Light thrice repeated; but one light and one God. This was what David meant when he said, 'In your light do we see light' (Ps 36:9). And now we have both seen and proclaim concisely and simply the confession of God the Trinity, comprehending out of Light (the Father), Light (the Son), in Light (the Holy Spirit). Whoever rejects it, let him reject it. Whoever does iniquity, let him do iniquity. We proclaim that which we have understood. We will get us up onto a high mountain (Is 11:9), and will shout. If we are not heard below, we will exalt the Spirit. We will not be afraid; or if we are afraid, it will be because we keep silent, not because we are proclaiming.

Gregory Nazianzus, Fourth Theological Oration, 3
 
Prayer
Almighty and gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You have commanded us to pray that You would send forth laborers into Your harvest fields. Of Your infinite mercy give us true teachers and ministers of Your Word who truly fulfill Your command and preach Your holy Word. Grant that we, being warned, instructed, nurtured, comforted, and strengthened by Your holy Word, may do those things which are well pleasing to You and profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
 
For Jo Lodholz, who is undergoing medical testing, that the Lord of the church would grant her strength of body and soul
 
For the unborn, that they might be protected by our laws ensuring the inalienable rights given by our God
 
For all those who work in the construction trades, that they would be kept safe on construction sites and find joy in their labor providing places of abiding and service to the community
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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