Thursday, January 24, 2008

a vocabulary lesson

Anyone who has known me for 30 minutes knows I slip uncommon words into conversation... I think it comes from having grown up with two parents who are certified word-nerds... Use of language is important to me, probably more important than it should be-- deep down, I am enthralled by our language. So...

Over the last three weeks I have been mulling over the word ORDAINED. the first idea this word evokes is "minister," as in "ordained minister." it may even call to mind the phrase "ordained as sons (daughters) of Christ" as employed by Paul in several of his letters to the scattered church. but what does it MEAN? Ordained means "called," or "appointed." but what lies beyond this simple definition?

Just as a wine connoisseur savors the subtle "textures" in the bouquet, I enjoy delving into the textures of words. So when I delve into ORDAINED, it doesn't just mean called or appointed. It evokes a sense of purpose and design. As in: I am ordained to be part of this body of believers and therefore, specific design and purpose to the calling to which I respond.

"Before you were formed, I knew you. before you were made, I predestined you..."
Jer. 1:1.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

get a job

Every year, I teach my students about "cohesion," the ability of a substance to adhere to another substance -- water on glass, for example. And for the vocabulary-impaired students, I always emphasize the "co" part of the word... co-captains, co-workers, etc. Paul refers to cohesion in Romans 12 when he instructs believers that we are all part of one body, all having different functions, and each of these functions being necessary and equal. Obviously within a body of believers there are those who are more prominent or well-known, but in God's perspective, all members of the body function in roles that are equally important. Any one job not being done fully or properly is a detriment to the body of believers.

So what is my job? What is my role or function that is essential to others? I think most of us share the role of simply creating a support network for one another; and how do we best accomplish this? Paul answers this throughout his letters. First of all, in Romans 12, he admonishes us that we are all given a gift which we should use fully and wisely. In Galatians 6, Paul calls us to "bear each other's burdens" which is often taken to mean something like "when someone is going through rough times, you need to be there for that person." True. However, this verse in context means something more like "in whatever your friend is struggling spiritually, be a support and accountability partner." I could make some kind of biology joke about the membranes that hold all a body's tissues and organs in place... or I could simply say that each and every one of us who belongs to a body of believers should perform two functions by default: exercise our gifts as God gives us opportunity, and maintain accountability among our friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beautiful Feet

When I was a kid, from the time I was three (old enough to string together a sentence, but barely), Sandi Patti was my hero-- I used to hold onto the wooden handle of a jump rope in my grandmother's kitchen and belt out the lyrics to her songs. Sandi Patti did a kids' tape once-- back when it was either a tape or a record no CD player was available at that time-- and on the tape was a song called Beautiful Feet. I think there was a cute story to go with the song but all I can remember are the words to the chorus... Beautiful feet. Beautiful feet. Beautiful, beaauuuuttiffuulll feeeeeeet...

Romans 11: 14-16
How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news."

Isaiah 52:7.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation
who say to Zion, "Your God reigns."