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Old 01-14-2016, 06:34 AM   #548
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Natal Transvaal
Posts: 5,169
Default A kind of recap

Wanted to try and recap, or sum up, the argument thus far. On another thread a poster was ruing their situation, and my counsel was to look away from the situation and at God's Christ. I wrote, "Let your consciousness meld with His". In retrospect that's pretty weak advice, even if we point to scripture verses - you know, "Look away unto Jesus" and "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" etc.

So I'll try and make it a little more practical, and will do so by telling two stories. First is from when I was reorienting myself toward God, and happened into a Roman Catholic building. There were stained glass windows: translucent colored panels filled with what I assumed were apostles and holy men looking down. Some of the pictures seemed to reference familiar stories; I think of Elijah getting fed by a crow, for example. In the marble-tiled foyer, there was a prominent statue of whatever patron saint was presiding over this congregation (St Whoever's Church). And in the back, against the wall, was an image of a man looking sorrowfully, wistfully, up into the sky. I assumed it was supposed to be Jesus looking up to His Father in heaven.

By analogy, I realized that there was a lot of extraneous stuff that kind of pushed Jesus into the corner, in this case literally. WL said that he rescued us from this by making Jesus Christ the "centrality and universality" of the LC experience, but ultimately I realized that his "God's economy" interpretive metric was similar to the RCC iconography in that scene in my memory: a distraction and a stumbling. Jesus Christ is still there, but His presence has diminished, and even dangerously receded.

Second story: in the gospels they were in a boat. The wind blew and the boat was tipping. These were fishermen, but were struggling to control the situation, and were fearful. Suddenly they saw Jesus. Walking toward them, across the water. I love this story because it's so stark. You know the rest: Peter calls out, Jesus replies, Peter gets out, then looks away and begins to sink. This clearly indicated to me the utter necessity of looking in a resolute and fixed way upon the Person of Jesus Christ. Don't look away from Him, for anything. Don't look at your situation: look at Him.

Now, here's how I think we can look at Jesus, and how WL's "economy" metric placed the equivalent of RCC statuary in our path. And I want to use the first few chapters of Psalms.

Psalm 1: blessed is the man who keeps the law, who obeys, who walks rightly. This is Jesus Himself.

Psalm 2: the inauguration of the King, the Son of God. This also is Jesus, the Obedient Son, who is now King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Hear Him, and live ("Kiss the Son lest you perish in the way" [2:12, etc]).

Psalm 3: Rebellion. "I lay Me down and slept/I awaked, for the LORD sustained Me." The cave, the pit, the snare, the deep water enclose Him but can't contain Him; this narrative continues unabated throughout the psalms. Again, in John's gospel: "I have the power to lay My life down, and to take it up again."

Psalm 6: Judgment. "Get away from Me, you evildoers!" (v.8). See also Psa 119:115, 139:15. For fulfillment see e.g. Matt 7:23, 25:41; also Jesus' rebuke to Peter in Matt 16:23, and rejection of Satan in the wilderness temptation.

Psalm 18: Salvation. "He rescued Me because He delighted in Me" (v.19). See continual referents in NT to God's delight of Jesus (Matt 3:17, &c).

Now, WL approached the text with "God's economy" interpretive metric in hand, and rejected the "natural boasting" of the psalmist, who said God approved of him, and who claimed obedience to the law, and who said God would save him from evil and harm, even from death. WL compared this, unfavorably, to the NT "grace enjoyer" who didn't have to do anything but receive Christ. So we got two images, one of David or Asaph or some other OT (sinful) person, and one of the prototypical Christian believer. But I argue there's a hole in the middle, here: where's Jesus? WL typically only acknowledged Him where NT usage and/or strong Christian convention forced him. (With Peter's epistle, he even rejected NT citation!) Otherwise we got LSM statuary and iconography, courtesy of "God's economy".

So my advice was, and is, let your mind become saturated with the mind of Christ. Not the Christ in Lee's folk theology but the one in text of scripture.

Lastly I recommend also the initial stages of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The author cites something like 8 psalm passages, then says, "we see Jesus". The author didn't know Jesus in person, having heard about Him from others (2:3). But now in 2:9, "we see Jesus". Where? In the text of scripture, obviously. The writer of this epistle looks into scripture, some which is cited, and sees Jesus portrayed, and uses the pronoun "we"; expecting the readers of the Epistle to do likewise.

I say, accept the invitation. Look at Jesus. Never look away. Go deeper into the divine revelation, before us in scripture. Let your mind and consciousness become infused with His. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, yes even by singing psalms. Let Christ make His home in your heart. Then the love welling up within you for the Father will not be yours, but the Spirit of Christ within you, yearning to return home.

The psalmist said, "Oh how I love your law/I meditate on it all day long." (119:97). And of course the psalmist failed. As Peter said, "His grave is with us to this day." (Acts 2:29) Death claimed another pious sinner. But the love of Jesus toward His Father made Him love every single word that proceeded out of the mouth of God (cf Matt 4:4). Jesus lived in sinless perfection, and God furnished proof to all by raising Him from the dead (see e.g. Acts 17:30,31). This love, which was in Jesus' heart toward His Father, now invades our consciousness, and all our earthly loves and fears and cares vanish in the brightness of His presence (Gk: parousia).

Anyway, I'm rambling here, even dangerously so. Please forgive me for brazenly displaying my ignorant enthusiasm.
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
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