Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ho! Hoe! Ho!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



"And grant that when Christmas morning breaks for us this year, we may
have something more to show for our much running about than
tired feet, wrapped presents, and regrets for cards not sent."

Ernest T. Campbell
Where Cross the Crowded Way: Prayers of a City Pastor


    After a distinguished career as president of one of his denomination's most renowned colleges, he was a successful interim pastor.

    Of course, nobody's perfect except for...

    Not him!


    The reason for the season!


    Anyway, I liked Bob and he became one of my mentors.

    He taught by example more than exhortation about staying loyal to Him over them; even if it means catching everything but heaven too often with a spiritual eye to Matthew 16:26.

    Of course, again, nobody's perfect; not even our mentors.

    For example, when he was the interim pastor of a city church in Pittsburgh, he put this sermon title on the bulletin board in front of the church: "Get a Hoe!"

    If I have to explain how that went over/down in that city church, you wouldn't understand anyway.


    I used to type out the liturgies for worship services for my secretaries.

    Here's what I would type in big bold capital letters at the top every week: A SERVICE FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD.

    I got it from my liturgy and homiletics professor in seminary who was always harping on and on and on about pastors who'd start worship by calling out, "Let's celebrate life!"  He'd shout, "You don't gather together to celebrate life!  You gather together to worship God!  To praise Him for being God!  To declare as You thank Him for who He is and what He has done for us and for our salvation in Jesus!  To honor the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of life here and now and forever!  We don't get together to celebrate life!  We worship God!"

    He'd also get really, really, really upset after seminary chapel services when someone would ask during worship, "Shall we pray?"  He'd blurt, "Shall we pray?  Shall we pray?  Shall we pray?  As if we're going to take a vote on it!"

    Anyway, I'd sometimes mess up the typing of those big bold capital letters at the top of the weekly worship services by misspelling worship with whoreship.

    Annnnnnnd as I've become more acquainted with Matthew 15, 23, and other idolatries, traditions, and human ingenuities masquerading as worship over the years, I've often wondered if God wasn't trying to tell me something through those misspellings that maybe weren't as accidental as I used to assume.

    If I have to explain that to you, you wouldn't understand anyway.


    God's deal with Noah was prompted by His broken heart.

    People took the goodness of His creation and created wicked pseudo-facsimiles.

    Jesus looked at the clergy of His day - and if you actually read what He had to say about 'em in places like Matthew 15 and 23, now ain't thaaaaaaaat much different from then - and it broke His heart in a Matthew 23:37-39 kinda way.

    They took the goodness of His creation and created wicked pseudo-facsimiles.

    He offered life.

    They chose death.

    Happened then and happens...


    Sooooooo why bring this up now?

    It's sparkle season!


    If everyone is sparkling so much around this time of the year, why are there more suicides around this time of the year than any other time of the year?

    It can't be just because it's another year without the Cubs winning anything.


    I don't think I'm wrong when I say Stephen Schwartz's narrator in Pippin could have been talking about Christmas 2013 while observing a young prince who wasn't celebrating any season of his life: "You look frenzied, you look frazzled...Flushed and rushed and razzle-dazzled.'

    There's a lot of depression out there and everywhere because, as Campbell prayed back in 1973, too many of us have nothing more to show for this season than...

    Stressed not blessed is how too many of us feel around now.

    Sooooooo busy, busy, busy striving to make the season bright for everybody else that...

    We're missing it/Him.


    Kung was right.

    We've got to be reminded of what/Who it's/He's all about to catch the season's spirit.

    "Not another gospel; but the same ancient gospel rediscovered for today!"

    "Before it was covered with the dust and debris of two thousand years" of celebrating life more than worshipping God!

    So let's go back before continuing or moving ahead!

    Let's rediscover the reason for the season.

    From an angel and Joseph and Mary and shepherds and magi and Simeon and...

    It's all right there for here and now and forever in the book.

    Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.

    It'll take just 20 minutes to read 'em again; and recapture...


    Let me put it another way.

    You've heard it before.

    Don't take Christ out of Christmas!

    That's because there is no season without the reason!

    Let me put it another way.

    John's way.

    "Whoever has the Son has life!"

    There is no life without the Son!

    Let me put it another way.

    Mark's way.

    "Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment.  And as many as touched Him were made well!"

    There is life with Jesus!

    That's how we can have Someone more to show for the season!


    Maybe my college president and interim pastor friend Bob remains right!

    Hoe!  Hoe!  Hoe!

    Get a Hoe!

    His way!

    "You shall be My witnesses!"

    Hoe!  Hoe!  Hoe!

    It's/He's the only way to recapture...


Blessings and Love!

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