Patience...Patience
Friday of Pentecost 3
10 June 2016
Patience is a virtue, but one which is not often arrived at. Like most Christian clergy, I too often exhibit a lack of this virtue, being impatient with fellow Christians who struggle to digest and properly understand the substance of the faith. The Christian folk have not had the hours of study of Scripture and focused theological reflection that their pastors have had the privilege of accruing. Even with all of that study and consideration Christian clergy must more readily exhibit patience with those who struggle to learn and confess the doctrine of the holy Trinity. One thing that study should impress on theologically trained minds is that the road to this confession and understanding is exceedingly challenging, because it deals in the coin of a divine mystery.
 
Augustine of Hippo points out that there are challenges at two levels of this study. First, the subject itself is the Godhead who dwells in light unapproachable, making God inaccessible to human reason apart from the divine self-revelation in Christ. Second, the mode of study involves understanding the figures of speech that Scripture uses both to unveil the teaching of the holy Trinity and to veil the Godhead. So, these impediments to the study of the holy Trinity should alert us to the challenge of the study for Christian folk. Questions will abound; and some of those will be quite challenging. All that can be done with such questions is answers given. The Scripture's challenging truth answers challenging questions.
 
Not every answer will be appreciated by those who seek answers. All that can be done is that the truth must be given. If it is rejected, so be it; the truth it is nonetheless. The truth must continue to be given patiently. God Himself continues patiently to reveal Himself to us through His Scripture. He never goes back on His promises or revokes His Word. His self-revelation remains always open to us. From it we should patiently and continually learn.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"When men seek to know God, and bend their minds according to the capacity of human weakness to the understanding of the Trinity; they learn, as they must, by experience, the wearying difficulties of the task, whether from the sight itself of the mind striving to gaze upon light unapproachable, or, indeed, from the manifold and various modes of speech employed in the sacred writings (wherein, as it seems to me, the mind is nothing else but powerfully exercised, in order that it may find sweetness when glorified by the grace of Christ). Such men, when they have dispelled every ambiguity, and arrived at something certain, ought, of all others, most easily make allowance for those who err in the investigation of so deep a mystery.
 
"But there are two things most difficult to bear with, in the case of those who are in error. First, hasty assumption before the truth is made plain. And second, when it has been made plain, defense of the falsehood hastily assumed. From which two faults, opposed as they are to finding the truth, and to the handling of the divine and sacred books, if God, as I pray and hope, defend and protect me with the shield of His good will (Ps 5:12), and with the grace of His mercy, I will not be slow to search out the substance of God, whether through His Scripture or through the creation. For both of these are set forth for our contemplation to this end, that He may Himself be sought, and Himself be loved, who inspired the one, and created the other. Nor shall I be afraid of giving my opinion, in which I shall more desire to be examined by the upright, than fear to be carped at by the wicked.
 
"For love, most excellent and unassuming, gratefully accepts the dove-like eye; but for the dog's tooth nothing remains, save either to shun it by the most cautious humility, or to blunt it by the most solid truth. I would rather be censured by anyone, than be praised by either the erring or the flatterer. For the lover of truth need fear no one's censure. For he that censures, must be either enemy or friend. If an enemy reviles, he must be borne with: but a friend, if he errs, must be taught; and if he teaches, listened to. But if one who errs praises you, he confirms your error; if one who flatters, he seduces you into error. Therefore, 'Let a righteous man strike me- it is a kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it(Ps 141:5)."

Augustine, On the Trinity, 2.1
2 Peter 1:16-21

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
Prayer
O Lord Christ, Your Word is truth. Confirm Your holy church in that truth that we might confess faithfully and with patient confidence the mystery of the holy Trinity: one essence and three Persons; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
For the members of the Nicaragua Mission Team of Memorial Lutheran Church, that they might share Christ in their service to brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church of Nicaragua
 
For the people of Memorial Lutheran Church, as they seek to confess with patience the holy Trinity to a world impatient with the truth, that they would confess faithfully before men
 
For President Lawrence Rast and the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, that God the Lord might bless their endeavors so that there may be many more faithful confessors of the truth of God in the world
 
For all those who are struggling to maintain the gift of holy marriage between one man and one woman, that they might continue to live in the love of Christ and that there might also be that love between husband and wife
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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