Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Island [Looking for the Promised Land]

Remember back in the day, when the proposition of "If you were stranded on a desert island and had a choice of one companion, who would it be?" was playfully offered for mischievous revelations into a persons desires or perhaps glimpses into their own little picture of paradise? I do! Now, here I am older and having absolutely no doubt whom I would have on my Island, I am content to the point of sinful neglect of the horizontal aspect of God's second greatest command. I love the privacy of my Island. I go to work, behave like a pleasant sort of fellow that's quick to tend to any perceived need I can meet, and the concept of ministry-minded reaching out with the love of Christ is alive and well. But .... I'm finding it hard to yoke myself to a community of believers. I don't think I'm hard. I don't think myself inflexible. I just can't find the ballpark. For the sake of clarity, perhaps it's easier to understand by looking back to an earlier example of renewal and covenant as expressed in 1636 by the church in Boston. 
"We do give up our selves unto that God whose name is Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ... and unto our blessed Lord Jesus Christ ... promising [ by the help of His Spirit and grace] to cleave upon Him ... by faith in a way of Gospel obedience, as becometh His covenant people forever.   

We do also give up our offspring unto God in Jesus Christ, avouching the Lord to be our God, and the God of our children, and ourselves, with our children to be His people, humbly adoring this grace of God, that we and our offspring with us, may be looked upon as the Lord's. 

We do also give up our selves one unto another in the Lord, and according to the will of God, freely covenanting and binding our selves to walk together as a right ordered congregation and church of Christ, in all ways of His worship, according to the holy rules of the Word of God, promising in brotherly love, faithfully to watch over one another's souls." 

This is not a foreign language or a foreign land. I would have to say that this works if you’re faithful in your determination to honor your covenant. The obstacles that I see are basic. They're peppered all over what we just read ...Gospel obedience [you actually have to live what you say and the Gospel is found in the Bible not the message] ... give up ourselves [this involves dumping your 12-step self-help, self esteem, self indulgence for a one step move to the cross] ... avouching the Lord to be our God [this is not you, forget your inner divinity and be a tool God can use] ...give up our offspring unto God in Jesus Christ [this is not the guy with spiked hair leading the youth group espousing the freedom from the law by God's grace so you can get your tattoos and whatever else that may make you relevant to today's cesspool] ... our offspring with us [how un cool is that --- offspring connected to their family, we all know the offspring have their own pew in the back of the church --- family has to work before church works] ...binding ourselves to walk together as a right ordered congregation [probably unlikely until we get the family thing straight and Gospel obedience --- how lame is that, after all "casting crowns" said not to strap ourselves to the Gospel and they're famous and not narrow-minded] ...faithfully to watch over one another's souls [when was the last time you were corrected and happy about it?].

I guess I'm whining. I'm also looking for the Promised Land. The puritans and the pilgrims came here in hopes of starting anew. They were fleeing a corrupt and vile homeland. Where can you flee to now, when the heart is hopelessly flawed and so very inescapable? It follows me everywhere, even to my Island, even to the Promised Land. In spite of this, I will not despair, nor will I roll over and play dead. I've committed myself to the One that Was and Is, and Is to come. He is coming. 

Oh, by the way, If you were wondering who I would pick to be on my Island ...It's my wife Cherry. Now if that's not a God thing, I don't know what is. "We do give up our selves unto that God whose name is Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."