While doing my "manual labor", yesterday (I think I'm too sore to do much more today :)), I was listening to Pastor Weedon's discussion of the Easter hymn "Jesus Christ is risen, today." Was THAT EVER NICE. It is about 50 min. long, but he did a wonderful job mining the hymn and the whole Easter message. If you want someone to know about Easter, send them this talk.
As an aside, I have never listened to anything by Pastor Weedon before, and it was surprising to me that he was so very bubbly. I had to smile through the whole discussion. In fact, since the i-pod was on replay, I listened to it more than once. It made the work go better and I still learned something each time.
You might think with all that discussion of liturgy that one usually reads from Pastor Weedon, he would be a little drabber and esoteric. I really would have thought so. But I am finding more that liturgical people are not approaching drabness in any dimension. Instead they seem to exude a wholesome joy and abandon and strength. While they like uniformity in worship, they are not afraid to be themselves.
We don't want to generalize. Everyone is completely different from everyone else and needs to work with the gifts that are given to them and come across different and that's ok. The worst thing would be to fake something and everyone has better and worse days. Still, when something is there, it is there. When you have that bedrock of solid worship practice and you can worry a lot less about other things.
On another note, in relation to a discussion I was having last week with LP on Extra Nos, last week, I noticed, too, that throughout the whole discussion, Pastor Weedon never once used the word "faith" or "believe", which LP thinks some people are allergic, too. I was thinking about that. To urge someone to believe or not.
There are times to speak about "believing" and times not to speak about "believing". Pastor Weedon's talk was so solid and full of scripture, imagery and joy, to the extent that if I had not believed before,-- I think he would have definitely talked me right into believing. I really think so. I think I would have said right away: where can I go to church? All without urging us to believe. I can see that there is a skill in this and a depth of focus on Christ, what he has done and what it all means and how it was foretold and expected.
To urge someone to believe comes into the picture at other times. Most of all it comes into the picture when you are speaking with someone who does not dare to believe for himself, someone who is discouraged, perhaps is sort of believing but isn't sure he is believing, or isn't sure what he is supposed to believe in.
Some people worry that urging someone to believe is to put another stepping stone into the picture, similar to decision theology. This is a valid concern. "You must believe or you are not forgiven", presented in a way that produces a type of torture. It is true. We must believe. But believing is not a work we can perform or choice that we can exercise. It is the proclamation of God's favor or the expectation of believing implied in it, which elicits the belief.
By the way of analogy, when we fall in love, and I have read SCIENTIFIC studies on this (not in Chatelaine), the chemistry happens when you can sense in the other person that you are special to them. It is a feedback cycle. I can tell you like me and you can tell that I like you and it gets stronger and stronger. Nobody can tell you to fall in love, but you can confess that you are in love. Similarly, you cannot command someone to believe, but you can confess that you believe.
It does no good to demand love or faith, it has to be inspired. But sometimes, someone needs to be helped to see that they are loved and that they can and should love back. Similarly, there are times, when someone needs to be helped to see what God has done for them and that the proper response is faith and love and that it is possible for them because the object of their love is so great and help and mercy has been announced for everyone including them. Or you are simply discussing the content of the faith.
So I think there is a time and place to discuss faith and urge "believe" and a time not to. The trick-or-treat analogy several posts back, also dealt with this.
Maybe this woman is listening to the same podcast as I? The things you can find on google images.
The Reformation by Dr. MacKenzie
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