Thursday, August 13, 2009

8-14; Worshipping or Splitting?

(Statue of Calvin in Budapest, Hungary)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are every praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you. (Psalm 84:1-4)

Calvin: “More detestable than this attitude is that of the apostates who have a passion for splitting churches, in effect driving the sheep from their fold and casting them into the jaws of wolves. We must hold to what we have quoted from Paul—that the church is built up solely by outward preaching, and that the saints are held together by one bond only: that with common accord, through learning and advancement, they keep the church order established by God. It was especially to this end that, as I have said, in ancient times under the law all believers were commanded to assemble at the sanctuary…David complains with great bitterness fo spirit that he has been barred from the Tabernacle through the tyranny and cruelty of his enemies (Ps. 84:2,3)… This is because believers have no greater help than public worship, for by it God raises his own folk upward step by step." (IV.1.5)

Thoughts: Calvin does not separate the idea that splitting churches is antithetical to wanting to be in God’s house. Splitting churches turns the sheep out. The church I currently serve lost 300 members several years ago in a church split, but another 300 became inactive or semi-active (not going anywhere). They lost their enthusiasm for the Lord and for the church. A similar thing happened years before in the second church I served- the minister walked out, and the church he formed folded up five years later, leaving those who left out in the cold. Somehow, we need to see the need to hold the church together more than having our own way. If we long to follow God, we need to long to worship Him and to hold the diverse church together in His love. One emotion is to long to be in God's presence no matter what. The other emotion is to leave in anger. The church is our home, even if it is a home where there is dirt, disagreement, or wrong thinking. It is better to long for your home than to try to destroy it.

Prayer: Lord, instead of a passion for splitting away and having my own way, give me a heart to submit to you and others in love and grace. Give me a desire to worship you more than the desire for other uses of time.

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