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Archive for September 25th, 2017

An Overlooked Doctrinal Point

The versicle and response (1) for daily prayer at this time in the Church year is:

“God is glorious with his angels and saints/Come, let us worship him”

 Deuteronomy 6: 4:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

God is one but God is not alone and I think this is an overlooked doctrinal point. The versicle sums up the overlooked point of the doctrine of God:  the word “monotheism”, the doctrine of God which  sums up the Lord’s substantial being as one, in three Persons, yet the Lord is not by Himself as his angels and saints are ever with him.  Jesus made this clear three times, recorded in Luke 15, the parables of the lost sheep, coin and son and here is the shortest of the three:

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”(emphasis added)

In all three parables when the lost object or person is found, there is a gathering of friends and townspeople for the shepherd, the householder and the father to share in the rejoicing of the lost being found. The Lord himself rejoices with the angels and saints (those asleep in Christ awaiting the general resurrection) in festal gathering when the wayward are on their way home.  The Lord, with his angels rejoiced in chorus when his Son was born.  Even the one angel announcing the Birth could not be alone.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest,    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2)

The Lord is not alone.

Joy is meant to be shared with someone else we love. Joy is not complete until you say to a loved one, “Isn’t this great!”  When there is no one to share the joy, it is very lonely.  We live in a lonely time where there seems to be little joy as we isolate ourselves in our cyber bubbles. We were made and redeemed to be with brothers and sisters in Christ in the joy of heaven.  This is another reason that a “lone Christian is no Christian”, or better not the way we are called to be the Lord’s with all his saints and angels.

 We may be happy but “happiness” is akin to the word “happens” and so happiness goes up and down depending on what happens.  Joy is the surprise of being found and belonging.  The Lord calls us to increase his joy, and the joy of many whom we know, over the lost being found and belonging to the Lord with his angels and saints. Joy is true worship and we can not be manufacture rejoicing by pumping up worship ‘experiences’ but only by His Word which seeks the lost to find them and claims us in joyful repentance as the Lord’s own, indeed: Surprised by joy.

With his angels, the Lord rejoices as he loves them whom he made. With his saints, the Lord rejoices as he loves us whom he made and for us alone, he died to redeem us. “For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham (Hebrews 2: 16). The Lord is love (1 John 4:8) and his love overflows in his beloved Son (Matthew 3:17;     John 3:16;  Romans 5:5). Joy flows out of his love and mercy, as it is written, “…and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy… (Gal.5: 22) as the Lord is the very tree of paradise in the garden of his angels and saints, and so indeed, God is one and he is not alone: 

“God is glorious with his angels and saints/Come, let us worship him”

 

(1) Ecclesiastical. a short verse, usually from the Psalms, said or sung by the officiant,  after which the congregation gives a response.

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