Do Christmas Again!

December 20, 2020 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Children, Christmas, Church Calendar, Covenantal Living, Fabulosities, King Jesus, Thankfulness, Worship

Proverbs 8:30–32 (NKJV)

30 Then I [Wisdom] was beside [the Creator] as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men. 32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.”

As we anticipate the arrival of Christmas, I doubt that I have to remind you that children love these times of festivity. While we adults often grow tired, kids never tire; they long for the celebration. “When are we going to get the tree? When are we going to put up the lights? When are we going to open stockings and presents? When is everyone coming over?”

We see in our text from Proverbs today that the delight and energy and joy of children reveals God’s own delight in all His work. Wisdom was daily God’s delight and rejoiced in His presence, rejoicing in God’s creative genius, and delighting in the sons of men. So who is the blessed one? What does Wisdom speak to you children? “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.” The blessed one is the one who keeps and observes the way of wisdom – and the chief of wisdom’s ways is to delight in God and to rejoice in His works. The blessed man or woman or child is he who looks upon the world with wide-eyed wonder at God’s creativity and genius and generosity; who marvels at the intricacy of the human cell; who laughs at the gangliness of a giraffe; who delights in the companionship of a friend. The cursed man is the one who has grown too dull to perceive the wonder of the world and those who dwell therein.

G.K. Chesterton explains all this in his inimitable way in his book Orthodoxy. He writes:

Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

So what of you? Have you sinned and grown old? Have you ceased to look in wide-eyed wonder at the world? You teens, have you become too insecure, too self-important, or too distant to rejoice with joy? You young adults, have you become too self-absorbed or too ambitious to slow down and enjoy family and friends? You adults, have you become too tired or too lazy to celebrate with joy? Or perhaps too greedy to enjoy the simple delights of friendship?

Reminded that we often sin in various ways and that our sin causes us to “grow old”, that we become bored and complacent with God our Creator and Redeemer and with the world in which He has placed us, that we complain and mutter rather than overflow with thanksgiving, let us kneel as we are able and confess our sin to the Lord. We will have a time of silent confession, followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.

Our Incomprehensible Creator

April 7, 2014 in Book Reviews, Church History, Creation, Fabulosities, Sovereignty of God
This last Sunday I quoted from the book On the Trinity by the early church father Novatian (c. 200-258). The passage discusses the inability of we finite beings to either comprehend or explain God fully. Here is the quotation in full – this is an updated translation from the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5:

Therefore, the mind of man cannot fully comprehend God in His being and nature, nor can our tongues adequately express the wonder of His majesty. For when conceiving and speaking of His majesty, all eloquence is mute and all mind impoverished. For He is greater than mind itself; nor can it be conceived how great He is, seeing that if it could, then He would be smaller than the human mind that conceived Him. He is greater, moreover, than all speech, nor can He be fully declared; for if He could, then He would be less than the speech which encompassed and contained Him. For whatever can be thought concerning Him must be less than Himself; and whatever can be declared must be less than Himself …For if the keenness of our eyes grows dull on looking at the sun, so that the brightness of the rays prevents us from gazing upon the orb itself, the keenness of our mental perception suffers the same thing in all our thinking about God, and in proportion as we give our endeavors more directly to consider God, so much the more the mind itself is blinded by the light of its own thought. What could you possibly say then that would be worthy of Him? He is more sublime than all sublimity, higher than all heights, deeper than all depth, clearer than all light, brighter than all brilliance, more splendid than all splendor, stronger than all strength, mightier than all might, more beautiful than all beauty, truer than all truth, more enduring than all endurance, greater than all majesty, more powerful than all power, richer than all riches, wiser than all wisdom, kinder than all kindness, better than all goodness, juster than all justice, more merciful than all mercy. Every kind of virtue must of necessity be less than He, who is the God and source of all virtue.

The Flamingo Moral

September 26, 2013 in Coeur d'Alene Issues, Creation, Education, Evolution, Fabulosities, Politics
Well my cynical side got the better of me when I read the article in the Coeur d’Alene Press today (see hereabout bullying alongside the announcement that former president H.W. Bush had witnessed a faux marriage of two women in Maine. So I penned an unsubmitted letter to the editor on the “bullying” issue that is all the rage in our media right now:

In Praise of Bullies
It seems the Coeur d’Alene School District is concerned about the presence of bullying in the schools. But I’ve been thinking that we should be more sympathetic toward bullies – that perhaps we should even praise them.
Now lest you dismiss me as a kook, just consider my argument for a moment. Last night my children and I watched an astounding documentary on the types and habits of eagles. We watched with amazement as a fish eagle swooped down on a flamingo, bore it to the ground, stood on its neck and killed it. Survival of the fittest on display. But then an interesting thing happened – a pair of much larger and stronger golden eagles swooped in and drove off the fish eagle, stealing his kill. It seems the golden eagles hadn’t attended the workshops on bullying offered by the school district.
So here we were watching this documentary on eagles when suddenly the thought struck me – hey, I’m just a distant cousin of the eagle! According to the official curriculum of our government educational system, as a human being I am not fundamentally different than an eagle. I too have evolved from that first bit of protoplasm by random processes and natural selection. I’ve gotten to where I am by natural selection and the survival of the fittest. So why shouldn’t stronger humans simply use their strength to take what weaker humans have obtained? Why not imitate the golden eagles?
After all, consider those golden eagles. Big, majestic, strong: they are clearly the evolutionary superiors of the fish eagles; no fish eagle measures up. And with bullies – maybe it’s the same. They’re usually bigger and stronger – okay maybe the majestic part is missing. But, hey, you can’t have everything in one package.
But if it’s true, as the schools teach our kids, that human beings are simply very sophisticated animals, then why not imitate the golden eagles? After all, the macro-evolutionary myth is used to reinforce various other morals. We’re supposed to care for the planet because she’s given us birth. We’re supposed to treat animals nice because they and we are cut of the same cloth. So why choose just these morals? Why not the “bully moral” as well? Bullying is okay because golden eagles push fish eagles out of the way and eat their flamingos. Perhaps we could call it the flamingo moral to avoid the “b” word. After all, if there is no moral standard that stands over and above our eco-system, then it seems that we should be willing to speak in praise of bullies.