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Monday, April 04, 2005

Anchor of the Soul.

Manny preached yet another stellar sermon yesterday morning. One that clearly came from his heart; it also touched on some things that I've been wrestling with, but almost certainly in a much more Christ-centered way.

Manny was talking about change. The world we live in is in a constant state of flux ("You can't step into the same river twice"). We change personally, we change relationally, our situation changes, the world around us changes.

I am anticipating major changes in my life in the next few months. No more school; new job; new church; new friends; new house ... all of those news make for a lot of "old's." And I've really been struggling with how I savor the "soon-to-be old's" while still joyfully anticipating the "new's." I haven't struck a balance, yet (and I'm running out of time to do so).

In the midst of all this change, Manny reminded us from Hebrews six that we need an anchor for our soul who is not bounded by time and space. Yup, that makes for ONE possibility.

I thought it was really cool where Manny went from there. We are very much bounded by time and space, and so God has graciously given us sign, seals, sacraments within time and space that anchor our souls in this heavenly reality. We celebrated the Lord's Supper today, and so as the sermon drew to a close, Manny led us to meditate briefly on the reality of the promise that was sitting in front of us, that we could see and that we could touch. (I spent a lot of the afternoon reading Calvin on the sacraments, so my mind is full of the wonder of all that they entail for us -- I'll spare you all of that for now!)

But with respect to this anchor-thing, my mind is actually full of questions:
  • How do we keep focused on Christ as the anchor of our souls?
  • How do we keep Christ our anchor while still loving, serving and depending on the body of Christ, i.e. the church -- he's given us this gift as his hands and feet, and yet it's full of finite and sinful people who will disappoint us.
  • How do we point people to Christ as their anchor: I have a feeling that it's a mixture of loving, modeling, everyday "preaching." But how much has Christ given us to them as a tangible "mini-anchor," and how much should we point them outside of ourselves to Christ?
  • How do we respond to change that we don't like in a Christlike way?
  • How much of our inability to handle change is sinful, and how much is creaturely finitude?
  • Are we ever justified in clinging to something created, wishing/hoping/demanding (?) that it/he/she not change? How do we surrender this desire to Christ?
  • Am I being over-contemplative because I've stayed up too late again?
"For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:13-20


At 9:20 PM, April 04, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Good words Molly, thank you. I was there when Manny shared them, and it was just as good the second time around hearing them from you.

There was so much in his sermon that I desperately need to take to heart.

One of the things that struck me was how just about everything - except X - probably WILL change in our lives; the closest thing we get to an exception in this regard is our spouse. Marriage is meant to be a bond for life, where we stick together through thick and thin. Probably the closest thing to X that we will ever know (unfortunately, for many of us its the closest thing to hell we will ever know).

I was just really convicted at that thought, because so many times I want to make all these transient things anchors - I want you and Ryan and Rachel to come with us to Missoula, I want my kids to always be around, I want to live happily ever after - all with things which God has said are passing.

And yet when it comes to my wife Marilyn, that's the one place I'm often most quick to despise. But its not her sin nearly as much as it is mine.

Now, I realize that even in marriage there are no guarantees (ask Addy) - but God does not usually leave us without a physical soulmate, and there's a reason for that. A mini-anchor day in and day out, not to save me or change me, but to constantly point me to X. And I am very, very fortunate to have a wife who loves me enough to do that.

So anyway, thanks again for the good words, and the gentle reminder that all of us need most - to fix our eyes and hope on Jesus.


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