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Philippians 3:12-21

 
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
 
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)
Everybody Learning
The Visitation
31 May 2016
The Memorial Moment reaches over 2300 email addresses worldwide (not to mention the hundreds of people who read the Memorial Moment through social media platforms like Facebook), including subscribers in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. There are also a growing number of US military people who have subscribed (there are no atheists in foxholes). People ask me how I have been able to keep up for 13 years the regular discipline of producing the Memorial Moment every weekday since September 2003. The short answer is, "God hath helped me hitherto."

The longer answer has two parts. First, the electronic resources now available to the Christian pastor make this far easier than it looks. For instance, search capabilities reduce what would have been hours of reading in books to just a few seconds of searching on the internet. I have access to original texts online now, that previously I would not have been able to read. For that I am grateful. I accomplish relatively easily what would have been impossible 15 years ago.

Second, and most importantly, I wouldn't produce the Memorial Moment if it did not help me. I am learning every day by studying Luther, Augustine, Chrysostom, Leo, Cyril, Hilary, and others. I am on a journey of fulfillment that is always listening to the church for greater understanding of the deep mysteries of God. I am a midget standing on the shoulders of giants. I gain a new perspective, which is the church's old perspective, every day. If you can listen in to my conversation with the church's great teachers and gain something, then I am delighted. If you find it unhelpful, well, you can send it to the "recycle bin" (this is another benefit of technology). Today we hear Augustine say that he too is learning about the holy Trinity as he writes his responses to questions being asked in his day about the Trinity. Everybody is learning. Just at a different rate; Paul, Augustine, me, and you.

 

Augustine of Hippo

"Some persons find a difficulty in this faith when they hear that the Father is God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God, and yet that this Trinity is not three Gods, but one God. They ask how they are to understand this, especially when it is said that the Trinity works indivisibly in everything that God works, and yet that a certain voice of the Father spoke, which is not the voice of the Son; and that none except the Son was born in the flesh, and suffered, and rose again, and ascended into heaven; and that none except the Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove. They wish to understand how the Trinity uttered that voice which was only of the Father; and how the same Trinity created that flesh in which only the Son was born of the Virgin; and how the very same Trinity itself wrought that form of a dove, in which only the Holy Spirit appeared. Yet, otherwise, the Trinity does not work indivisibly, but the Father does some things, the Son other things, and the Holy Spirit yet others. Or else, if they do some things together, some severally, then the Trinity is not indivisible. It is also a difficulty for them, in what manner the Holy Spirit is in the Trinity, whom neither the Father nor the Son, nor both, have begotten, although He is the Spirit both of the Father and of the Son.

"Since, then, men weary us with asking such questions, let us unfold to them, as we are able, whatever wisdom God's gift has bestowed upon our weakness on this subject; neither 'let us go on our way with consuming envy.' Should we say that we are not accustomed to think about such things, it would not be true; yet if we acknowledge that such subjects commonly dwell in our thoughts, carried away as we are by the love of investigating the truth, then they require of us, by the law of charity, to make known to them what we have been able to find out. 'Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect' (for, if the Apostle Paul, how much more must I, who lie far beneath his feet, count myself not to have apprehended!); but, according to my measure, 'if I forget those things that are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before, and press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling' (Phil 3:12-14), I am requested to disclose as much of the road as I have traveled, and the point to which I have already reached, to which the course yet remains to bring me to the end. A generous charity compels me to serve those who make the request. God will grant that, in supplying them with material to read, I shall profit too. In seeking to reply to their inquiries, I shall find that for which I was inquiring. Accordingly I have undertaken the task, by the bidding and help of the Lord my God, not so much of discoursing with authority respecting things I know already, as of learning those things by piously discoursing on them."

Augustine, On the Trinity, 1.5
 
Prayer
O Lord, as I study Your Word, let me use what I have learned to be strengthened in the faith and to share that faith with people who also need to know the salvation You have worked for us. Keep me patient with those who are still struggling to learn what you have already revealed to me, so that they too may journey along the way to You alone. Amen.
 
For the men and women serving in the US military, that they would be kept safe and faithfully carry out their duties and that we would honor and revere these faithful defenders of the freedoms we enjoy
 
For those who are seeking justice in family courts, that the Lord's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven
 
For those who are suffering from cancer, that the Lord would grant them strength and healing
Art: SEBASTIANO DEL PIOMBO  The Visitation (1518-19)

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