Saturday, May 12, 2007

Changing Church Part XX

A man stood from a seat near the door. His thin white hand gripped a wooden cane. His voice trembled with age, “I can’t stand here and hold a Bible at the same time, so you’ll forgive me for trying from memory…” He recited Psalm 91. It was a long psalm, and several times he had to pause while gaining control of his emotion-conquered voice. At the end he said, “I don’t deserve a love like that. But God is still with me, all the time. I’ve loved that psalm since I was a boy, and through sermons my whole life, I always thought that maybe I would just stand up and yell it out. Seems to be better than some songs or sermons I’ve heard. Anyway, I’m an old man, and I want to testify that those words are true… in the end. In between it may seem like God is doing things way out of sight or over your head or with no reference to you at all. But God has proven that when I couldn’t see what He was doing, He was all I was supposed to see. For good reason. And, well, that’s all.”

Anne wept. His whole life the man had been longing to hear his favorite psalm in church, and he finally had the chance to share it with everyone. It had also been the same Scripture that comforted his heart through the changes to which he was reconciling himself this past week.

Others were clearly affected. Some were emboldened. One of the adult Sunday school teachers stood likewise. “This is something I learned while studying for my lesson this Sunday, but it isn’t really part of it.” He told of the parable of new wine in old wineskins. “I figured out what Jesus meant by it. The gospel of grace is too good, too new, to fit into old habits and laws. It doesn’t just repackage the old, or patch a part that didn’t work so well. It is completely new. Jesus was talking to the Jews about their stubborn hold on following the over-legalized law. But it is similar to Paul talking to the Ephesians, too, about putting on a new man. When we are saved, we’re a new creation. The Spirit of God lives in us in power! Our old habits and attitudes, speech patterns, choices, and whole way of looking at life cannot contain the new life we receive as children of God. So we put off the old man like a snake shedding its too small skin. And we put on a new man, created in righteousness and holiness. Good works prepared for us to do.” He got a few ‘amen’s.

To God be all glory.

See the index for first and additional chapters.

1 comment:

zjramsli said...

Ok I have to admit this is the first time I've really read your 'Changing Church' series. Previously I had only glanced at them and since they were so short decided to wait until you had more.

So now I've read them all (1-20); bye the way it's much better reading it all at once. So what did I think? Well..I think it's aweome: it's very thought provoking and inspiring.