Monday, August 29, 2016
We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:10-14(NLT)
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) was one of the early church fathers, whose writings give us great insight into the formation of Christian living. He was very restless as a young man. One of his most well-known sayings is:
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.[ii]
This statement is echoed by Blaise Pascal in the 17th century who offered the concept that we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts which can only be filled by the embrace of God with the human.[iii]
The Hebrew letter writer (who many believe to be Paul) encourages followers of Christ to go outside the mainstream of human wisdom and bear the same disgrace as Jesus; Paul got this from Jesus, who told his followers to take up the cross. Paul echoed it also in his letter to the Corinthian church: I die daily[iv]
Much of Christian doctrine and principles turns the world upside-down:
· To live for Christ is to die to self
· To give stuff away is to store up riches
· To give your life away is to find it
· The first will be last, and the last, first.
For those who see the threadbare inconsistency of the power structures and systems of this world’s ways, and long for a better way, something with substance and integrity, a life of purity and strength, following Jesus Christ is the choice exhibiting the epitome of wisdom.
In what other way can you find the meaning that God-shaped hole craves than to do what Paul suggests happens to those who take a step towards God in Christ?
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Galatians 3:27(NLT)
Put on Christ, give yourself away, die daily, be last to be first. Better than drugs, booze, power-lunches or a new car!
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[iv] 1 Corinthians 15:31b