The Journey of Awareness – the Temple Lent Day 5

NIV 1 Kings 8:27-29  “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!   Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.   May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.

NIV 1 Corinthians 3:16  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

This morning I awoke to a daily ritual.  I get up, let the dog, feed the dog, turn on the Keurig, check my email, and then do Tai Chi followed by the Morning office of prayer.  The last two my wife and I do together.  It is a simple routine that provides a sense of connected-ness with time and the ordinary.  I am also aware what I do God is doing with me.  Why, because God has chosen me as his temple.

Jesus said in  Luke 19:46 (and two other Gospels)   ‘My house will be a house of prayer.  God comes and dwells with us making us his temple and calls us to continual prayer.  God wants us to be a place of worship.  This does NOT negate our coming together as the Church as some people falsely believe.  I does mean that God really does want to be with us.  This is one of the primary elements of love.

As we make this journey with Jesus toward the cross I hope we can be filled with the awe  and the desire for mercy that Solomon felt when God entered the Temple he had built.   I also hope it fills us with a sense of deeper intimacy and connected-ness with our Lord who wants to be a part of everything we do.

First Sunday IN Lent

Today is the First Sunday IN Lent.  Note the emphasis of IN and not OF Lent.  In the season of Lent the Sundays are not counted .  Sundays are to be days of celebrating the resurrection.  The resurrection is the foundation stone of our faith.  The resurrection is the basis for our hope.  Paul puts it well when he writes in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14   If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

Today, the passage I am going to preach from is Romans 10:8-13.  It contains perhaps the first true creed of the faith.  Paul states Romans 10:9  Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The creed:

I believe Jesus is Lord

I believe in my heart that God raised him from the Dead

I believe I will be saved.

This is not compromise-able.  These is not negotiable.  This is the way, the truth and the life.

Three simple statements, but oh do we have such a hard time living by them.

If Jesus is Lord that means the things we do in this life we do for him.  I would not advise sitting down and taking a moment by moment inventory.

If we believe “in our hearts” then this belief is the core value that guides our behavior.  If it is our core value then we would seek every opportunity to be involved in the celebration and proclamation of this emotional/spiritual treasure.

If we believe we will be saved then that means we understand the danger of this world.  It means we understand we will stand before God and give an account.  It also means we grasp our responsibility to tell others of the danger and there need.

The importance of the promise of the resurrection became very, very real to me this week in the death of my mother.  I do believe I will get to see here again.  I believe because Jesus has given me this hope.  I believe because I talked with her about what true faith is.

The journey of life is filled with things that will challenge our faith.  Scripture, Experience, Tradition and Reason provide us with the strength to endure.  Lent is a tradition that calls us seek to live like Jesus.  It feeds on the Scripture that calls us to prepare.  It provides us with the experience of the Spirit through spiritual discipline and self denial.  Is it not reasonable that we seek every opportunity it offers us to make the creed of Christ more real in our lives.