I’m at the hairdresser’s for Billy’s shower and thought I’d write a bit and also copy a lot of notes from meetings lately. Praise you, father, for Jake and Joe and Gerry and Jim and Paul and Tony and Alpo and Steve and Mary and Dot and Janice and all. Praise you and thank you. I could make a list a mile long of all there is to thank you for but especially for these. And thank you for Thursday and the moments with you and the ones with Joe and Jake. I want to serve you, father, and if I can only do it by clearing tables, so be it.
I got what I think were two teachings last week and I’d like to write them down. Maybe I’ll ask Jake about them tomorrow — if they are really teachings or, beautifully, for my own edification. Say, if they are teachings, they go along with James 4.7, the passage that suddenly meant so much Thursday (Jake too.) He asked me to read that Sunday but maybe that was only because I said I wanted to give. We’ll see.
#1. Reading scripture
I found myself reading James last week as I had read so many other parts of scripture, And it suddenly surprised me. I read the exhortations, the rebukes, the chastisements as if they were for others and not at all for me, as if I had gone way beyond the stages therein described and needed them no longer. Of course it was easy to accept the parts about love and reward as being specifically aimed at me, but, oh how difficult to suddenly realize that so is all the rest. No matter how close we come to the Lord, we are still sinners and will be so as long as we are human. He, in his beautifulness, finds it necessary to forgive us all every single day. That’s what hit me, the universality of scripture. The way it is for all of us all the time. We can’t just pick out the parts we like and discard the rest. If we do that, we’re only proving the point. We need every word and every word is meant specifically for each of us. Mark 7. marked??
#2 We who know the law
One of the passages of scripture that I read the way I described above was
JamesRomans 2.12 – 2.17. It’s about familiarity with the law: those who sin without it will be judged accordingly and those who sin knowing it will also be judged accordingly. It is not familiarity with that law that pleases the father but obedience to it. I naturally assumed that I am always completely obedient. And then I thought of what I had just learned about scripture and I thought of the times recently when I was impatient with my family or jealous of my friend of possessive with my love or misusing my tongue or … the list goes on and on. And though I try, as St. Paul says, I often find myself doing things I don’t want to do and know are wrong. And my father, because he loves me dearly, forgives me and I learn a little each time I fail for he teaches me.
But the thing to
But the point of that passage suddenly became clear (how beautiful is the clarity and simplicity the father gives to fantastically complicated things when he teaches!) We have to try all the time, (We must be watchful lest the bridegroom come and find us asleep.) for it is through us that others see our father. And that is a heavy responsibility, one we will continue to overlook but one we must never, never forget. (Look around)
So, those are the “teachings”, father, if that’s what they are. And if I’m called upon to give them to the community, I pray that your spirit will speak through me and that I will not get in the way. Okay?
Thursday night someone from Ann Arbor – who was with the Fox – stood up and spoke in your name. Wow! One of the things he said, I would like to remember here.
We are not here by chance (at the prayer meetings or business meetings or any time we’re together) but were brought by you, father, to minister to one another. I accepted that you sent me the first week and then nearly forgot. Praise you.
Before I go, please let Joe have had an easy success — or at least a success, if it is your will. And let me or anyone you like give him a smile for I feel he’s going through a rough time.
How silly to ask you for things like that! You know our needs already! Praise you. (Oh, and if Jake ever needs me, please let him know I’m here.)