Tuesday, May 3, 2011

HESUS JOY CHRIST / Matthew's Three Fold Discussion -- Verse 9

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Continuing on to discuss verse 9 of the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter Three, and the animation Matthew's Three Fold .

Verse 9

The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter Three, New International Version

9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father! I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Verse 9

Animation Text by R David Foster, 2009

And do not think you can say to yourselves : 'We are ordained.' I tell you that out of these sinners God can raise up ordination!

Verse 9 Discussion

What does it mean to have Abraham as a father ? This was a society that God set apart to bring awareness of himself to the world. The children of Abraham were a culture that maintained an awareness of the one God “I am.” They were an example to the rest of the world of what life in a relationship with God is like. They were in a geographical position and an evolutionary time that set them as an example to the rest of the world. It was a special time and position, but it was not obtained by the worthiness of the Hebrews – it was ordained by God and sustained through his love and mercy, rather than the merits of the Hebrews. It could have been any other race in the same position and time. But it was the Hebrews.

Abraham did not obtain his position with God by his own merit. Rather he was open to God in his life and this allowed God to act on his behalf. This openness allowed God to bless him. This openness is apparent by Abraham allowing himself to have faith in God's word to him, in spite of the obstacles to his having children. Abraham heard the word of God and believed, in the face of the gross unlikelihood of God's word being fulfilled. This openness to God even allowed him to consider sacrificing his only son when he may have felt his love for his son was overshadowing his love for God. Abraham had more faith in God than in his own understanding that he likely would not have another child with which God could fulfill his promise. This is extreme faith. This faith came to Abraham by the grace of God and by Abraham's situation as created by God. Abraham was ordained by God.

Many clergy are ordained by God. There lives and witnessing have set them apart from the world as ministers of the Word to the world. This is not by their own merit but by the grace of God that they can proclaim the Word meaningfully. They are in no way less sinners than the rest of us, but they are able to make the Word known to us in spite of their limited sinful nature. A minister of God's word cannot rely on their ordination but rather their participation in making God's Word known. If they abandon their work ordination will not redeem them.

If the Hebrews failed to listen and participant in a relationship with the one God, they cannot rely on their ancestry to redeem them. Likewise, any other religious leader who abandons his or her commission cannot rely on any sort of authority vested in them to redeem themselves. If the religious authorities abandon their commissions they're work will be taken up by others who can produce. This goes back to bearing good fruit, as discussed previously. A very good example of this is the protestant revolution. The ordained church failed to produce results and were abandoned by the people in favour of other religious leaders who sprung up among them. These leaders were no more sacred than their followers, and all of them were sinners.

All ordained people deserve special consideration of their intent by their followers, but this does not mean they will not be judged as being incorrect. The protestant revolution judged many of it's ordained leaders as being incorrect and that is why there are so many different denominations. So much so that three denominations even reversed this process and joined back together to become the United Church.

Another strong example is Islam. If christianity was failing to produce results another man with a strong relationship to God spoke through faith and is now known as the last prophet of God. Islam produced many results in it's early history and greatly overshadowed christianity. Likewise, if Islam cannot improve the standard of living amongst it's followers it will be overshadowed by other priorities, such as western secularism, and this may be happening in the uprisings in Egypt and Libya of the winter of 2011.

And now back to marriage. If religion cannot produce results it will fail to hold the attention of the people. Likewise, a marriage, if it cannot produce results it will fail to hold the attention of the participants. But what is the alternative to either religion or marriage? Religion and marriage are both doors to the infinite – one is for the infinite purpose of each of many individuals in a society, and the other, marriage, is for the practical application of the understanding of the infinite purposes provided by religion, as well as a source of understanding of the infinite purposes of both society and persons. If religion fails to produce meaning than perhaps personal relationships will take priority. If personal relationships fail to produce meaning than perhaps blind faith will take priority.

This is what is happening in modern marriages – they are failing to produce good fruit. Why is this? If one gives serious intense attention to something they will see it fail and the world of that something will fail and then become a new something. This has happened in religion throughout the ages as well as marriage. This is suffering, condemnation, death, and rebirth. This is the truth of any awareness, that it will fail and then become a new awareness. So the issue becomes what is worthy of our serious intense attention and faith so much that one is willing to follow through with it to death and rebirth. We all know we will die – our experience of the lives of others around us makes this apparent. The question becomes what is worthy of our life and death. And why should we become content with awaiting a comfortable death? Is there more to all of this? I believe there is.

Many people will die for their faith, as history has many examples. I propose that religion may be worthy of death, but marriage is more worthy as it is the purpose that religion points to throughout history. If one is going to die, let it be for marriage. Then the truth of life conquering death through rebirth comes into play. Many people will die for their religious beliefs and go on to rebirth to new life, and many people will loose their awareness for their spouse and go on to rebirth of their marriage in new life. Marriage in no way will replace religion, but rather will be the field in which a personal religious life will play out. Marriage is the practical application of all that religion teaches. Religion teaches that there are many things more important than a limited life, which justifies death, which leads to rebirth. Marriage is where this will all play out and bring forth good fruit, and rebirth. Without a strong faith in God, death and rebirth, marriage has nothing much to offer. But once one has developed a strong faith in religion, forgiveness, death and rebirth, marriage is where one should invest their efforts as that is where new meaning, understanding and good fruit will come from most readily, in spite of our limited sinful nature. Marriage is a compass that will help to determine all other decisions, as it is a living balance of whole and part.


Saturday, April 30h, 2011


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