Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Repent, Rebirth, Reconcile, Rejoice, Redemption, Restore

Scripture References:

Isaiah 42:1-9 (5-9)
And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength—he says,

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Psalm 71:1-14 (1-3)
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (18-20)
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

John 12:20-36 (20-26, 35-36)
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip. Who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will be servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.


Opening Blind Eyes

By John Claypool

Comments on the story of the Prodigal Son:

Thomas Merton called this recognition (the awareness of what already exists) the breakthrough to the Already—one of the crucial moments in the process of redemption.

It did not take the prodigal long to find out that he was not nearly as smart or as powerful as he had thought, nor was life as responsive to his wishes as he had supposed…When a famine struck the land, he—Jewish lad that he was—was reduced to having to tend pigs. In a word, the prodigal had become “demythologized”—all the grandiose images of himself were shattered, and he came face to face with the fact of his limits: He could not do everything. It was a stunning revelation, but it was the beginning of a process that Jesus describes as “coming to himself.” For the first time, the boy really began to be aware of life the way it really is.

That is what Christian redemption is all about. We do not need to seek somewhere else or acquire something else—we need only become aware of what already is.

The prodigal did not outgrow all his illusions, once he began to become more aware. In fact, he did what most people do: He went from one extreme to the other. He who once had imaged himself as a superman now saw himself only as a hired servant. The father, who had seemed the epitome of dullness (to the Prodigal) a short time before, now looked very appealing as an absolute authority. So with great desire to reenter the womb psychologically—to become an infant again—the prodigal headed back home. There, phase two of his redemptive/awakening was accomplished.

[The father induced] the prodigal to become aware of what already was, rather than to feel the need to acquire something he did not have. He did not suddenly become the son of his father when he awakened to his true identity. He had always been that son.

At a functional level, this must be one of the meanings of the term born again. I believe it refers to the process in which the risen Christ goes all the way back into our lives, into those places where we have made erroneous judgments, and there he helps us relearn ourselves.