After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him - Matthew 2:9-11.
FESTIVE FENG-SHUI: Rebekah and I always get a lot of compliments regarding our festive feng shui here at Maul Hall. Thanks for the strokes, folks, but the achievement is pretty-much all Rebekah. She has a sense of style that really should have its own HGTV show. They could call it "Reverend Renovations", or "Renewal by Rebekah", or "A Touch of Grace", or "Re-Bekah... Re-Model... Re-store."
Hmm, I kind of like that last one: Rebekah/Remodel/Restore. It has - "no-duh" - a boatload of theological implications. But, then again, I'm not sure that anything Rebekah and I have done since the day we were married has failed to be loaded with theological implications.
FAITH MUST BE SYSTEMIC: Cue "Pet-peeve #1" on my all-time list (well, today at least) when it comes to the understanding and application of Christian faith in 21st-Century America.
What I'm talking about is the way life is often compartmentalized, to the extent that so many people routinely talk about "My life," and then "My spiritual life." As if they could be two separate things.
Unfortunately, the majority of people really do go about their lives as if "life" and "spiritual life" are two separate things. We've all heard the phrase, "I need to work on my spiritual life," or "I need to pay more attention to my spiritual life." Those clichés suggest that the division is a "given" in our culture. Even the idea of "separation of church and state" plays in to the foundational premise.
I believe this problem - and it is a problem - is a natural consequence of engaging Christianity as a religion to be practiced rather than a relationship with God to be cultivated.
- What I'm saying is that of course the way that Rebekah and I decorate our house for Christmas is faith-based...
- And you'd better believe that renovation and restoration in our home speaks to the big picture of our relationship with God...
- And there's no other way to do my job, have breakfast with a friend, go on vacation, play my guitar, write a book, post on my blog, spend money at the mall, eat dinner with friends.... than in the context of the awesome fact of God's ongoing redemptive work in our lives...
The question here is not, "What parts of my life should I bring under the umbrella of my commitment to follow Jesus." Instead, it's, "Why on earth would I make the deliberate choice to exclude Jesus from anything?"
The question of "separation" pre-supposes exclusion. Whereas the beauty of discipleship is an ongoing partnership where God is never imagined as add-on, after-market, optional or third-party.
"After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him."
The wise men, the Magi, cultivated a lifelong sensitivity to listen for God's voice. They didn't see the star and then put on their faith-hats as a result. They recognized the truth about the Messiah because there was no distinction between their lives and their spiritual lives.
No distinction; no separation; no "topical" application of the presence of Jesus....
Would that our faith so consumed us - DEREK