A Move, Busyness, and God’s Majesty

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It has been a busy few weeks.

I recently moved from the house I was living at to a new place in Bethlehem. It is amazing how busy moving can be. Heck, the entire process of finding a new place to live occupied a lot of my free time and stressed me out a little bit. I’ve moved many times though so I have learned to live lean, and the less I have the easier it is to move. Its crazy though how all this busyness creeps in and stifles other things that need attention. Sometimes this can stifle times of prayer and personal devotion, and to a small degree it did for me.

On Saturday evening, as is my custom, I went to Vespers. I was about 5 minutes late so when I arrived the service was already in progress. As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted with the smell of incense, which has come to be remarkably comforting. I made my way to what a friend and I have dubbed “Protestant Row” (due to the fact that we’re Protestant and we sit/stand in the same row whenever we show up) and tried to focus on what was happening. There is a line that is sung during the Prokeimenon and it says, “The Lord is King and has clothed Himself in majesty.” For some reason this part of the service stood out to me. As I stood there trying to follow along, smelling the incense, and looking at the icons, hearing the words being chanted and sung I was struck with a sense of God’s majesty. I have sung many times about how glorious God is, how majestic God is, and how sovereign and good God is, but it is not often that I have a sense of it or an experience of it. Blinking away the tears I just stood there for a few minutes and after some time silently thanked God for his goodness towards me.

On Sunday I went to my home church and a similar thing happened during the singing. I was struck with God’s majesty and goodness and it stayed with me the whole service. After the service was over Pastor asked us staff ministers to pray for people and as they came up for prayer my silent prayer for them was that whatever God graced me with, that sense of his majesty and love, would come over them and bring them comfort and peace. There are a lot of hurting people in our churches and I pray that as we provide materially for their needs, God would give them a glimpse of his majesty and love. I was reminded that what I do at church or my service to God does not take the place of my everyday devotional time with God. It may sound like a given, but it is amazing how quickly it can get overlooked.

“The Lord is King, and has clothed Himself in majesty.”

(Attached is a clip of the Prokeimenon being sung at a different church)

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Chicken Sandwiches and Circuses

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I’m sick of this Chick-Fil-A nonsense.

Christians, stop antagonizing gay people by banding together to support a company because the owners profess to be Christians and hold Christian values. This does not send a good message. You don’t need a Chick-Fil-A solidarity day because Chick-Fil-A is NOT the church. Gay people have every right in this country to boycott goods and services just as you have the right to boycott goods and services.

Taking pictures and posting them online of you defiantly eating a spicy chicken sandwich does nothing for the cause of the Gospel and inflames anger in people we are called to love (and don’t start with the “love is not the same as acceptance” I understand that, I’m trying to make a point). Hebrews 12:14 tells us, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” As Christians we are called to peace and the striving that we do should not be directed to defending a fast food chicken company but striving in pursuit of our own holiness.

Christians, you should not be trying to win social political wars. Secularism won a long time ago and Christendom fell long ago. You know what though? That is good news. Whenever the church gets in bed with politics and the authority structures of this age, bad things happen. When the church is persecuted and reviled, it tends to become purified because saying that one is a Christian is much less difficult than actually being one.

People, gay and straight, who sympathize with the concerns of gay marriage please stop antagonizing Christians by trying to force them to change their view on something the church has been in agreement on, despite many splits, since the first century until the (I think) mid 1900s. Your antagonism puts Christians like me in a bad spot. We see how support of companies like Chick-Fil-A can be hurtful and we agree that the church has done a terrible job, putting slogans and companies before our faith. But you have to realize that our faith actually requires us to discard what we see as sin and turn toward repentance.

What Christians have tried to do is legislate Christian morality through political means, and for that I apologize. That is wrong and not part of a Christian ethos, but Christians are scared because they see government as a monolithic juggernaut, which it can be, coming to take away their rights which are just as Constitutionally valid as your own.

So please, let’s stop yelling past each other, and let’s stop rousing our respective groups against one another. That only leads to increased hatred, fear, and contributes to our already paltry ability to dialogue in the middle of profound differences. As St. Paul reminds us from his letter to the Romans, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (12:14-18)