Aloha Friday Message – August 21, 2020 – We Will Rock You!

2034AFC082120 – We Will Rock You!

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     Isaiah 22:22-23 22 I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.23 I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house.

Romans 11:33 33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Matthew 16:18 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, [Petros or Cephas] and on this rock [petra] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

Exodus 33:20-23 20 “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” 21 And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

About three weeks ago, we studied the passage in 1 Kings where Elijah was holed up in a cave in the mountains as God passed by. There was a mighty wind, and earthquake, and an immense fire preceding the soft and gentle whisper of God’s voice. In this passage from Exodus, Moses is on the mountain with God and Moses asks to see God’s Glory. God tells him to stand in a gap in the rock as he passes by so that God can cover Moses’ eyes as he passes. You know, that reminds us of that great old hymn by Fanny Crosby, He Hideth My Soul (↔ Music Link)

Belovéd, in every aspect of life we have a safe place to stand and be sheltered from everything that can harm us. We stand in the cleft of the rock, and as God passes by, we feel the Glory of the Lord around us and know that our foundation is solid! Christ has passed the badge of authority to The Church, and through that foundation, all who live in Christ are standing on solid ground. Our foundation is Christ and we build our lives on that foundation as living stones. He is the Solid Rock (↔ Music Link) on which we stand, and as we learn in 1 Peter 2:4-5 (←Use this link to see it in context) we know we can … Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. […]

This week, the Church brings us the story of Eliakim whom God chose to replace a corrupt and sinful ruler named Shebna. God says Eliakim will be a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house. Eliakim (God has raised up) son of Hilkiah (My Portion is Jehovah) is God’s chosen and he alone has power to open and shut which is historically symbolic of his absolute authority as the king’s representative called by such titles as Chamberlain, or Steward, or Treasurer. (Isaiah 22:22) Only the Master Steward had the Keys. We look at this passage as a “type,” a prefiguring, of what Jesus said to Peter about the keys of the Kingdom. Peter will be the Master Steward, the leader of the congregation that would be eventually called Christians.

God has always picked leaders whom he could trust to shepherd the People he has chosen and gathered together to save them from slavery and death. He has given us his Chosen, his Belovéd, his Only Begotten Son so that we can know God by knowing the Son. We can see God by seeing the Son (though we still will not see the Father’s face). When we don’t know Christ, our choices exclude an afterlife. In reality, our lives as earthlings are just the introduction to Eternity. Our comportment here affects our demeanor there. Whatever we suck up or suck down on earth has no effect on transitioning to eternal life. No great fame, or honor, or wealth, or notoriety, or skill, or genius, or anything of the World can earn any of us a place in heaven. When we look at our lives and the gifts God has put into us and see it all through our Father’s eyes, the perspective and perception are quite a bit different. Check out these Cross References: Psalm 49:7-9; Matthew 4:8-9 See also Luke 9:25 and Mark 8:35 (with notes).

We’ve seen it so often among The Golden Ones in Hollywood, Washington D.C., or pop music. The World sits down to a feast with them and then devours the feasters. The “biggies” (piggies?) “had everything” and lost it all – taken away by drugs, or booze, or sex, or shame in a thousand different colors. They become trash, castaways, washouts, has-beens, and some even become dead. What kills them? What brings them down? It is a severe Spiritual damage that destroys this present life and imperils or even destroys Eternal Life. We can get back on the wagon, or the stage, or the train, or whatever we fall off of, but we cannot earn a “Get Out of Hell Free” card and go to heaven. Heaven is reserved for those who have chosen to believe in Christ and thereby gain everlasting life because God has chosen us. We can sing joyfully with David as in Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. That is the kind of Joy the Apostle Paul describes here: Romans 11:33 33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! We become “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.” (See 1 Corinthians 4:1) We become ekklēsia – Church.

In Sunday’s passage from Matthew, the word used for church is ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia) {ek-klay-see’-ah}. In the New Testament it denotes a specific gathering of Christians. It is also used to represent – connote – the entirety of believers, all the people who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The same word, ekklēsia, is used in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, to represent the Hebrew term קָהָל (qāhāl) {kaw-hawl’}, “assembly” or “congregation.” (See for example Numbers 14:5) As Israel gathered together to appear before God they were designated as “the assembly” or Congregation. It is also used similarly to ekklēsia as a term describing all of Israel. It is this assembly, this Church, that Peter will build on the Rock of Ages – Christ Jesus.

Jesus tells Peter that he will give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Just as God gave the authority over Israel to Eliakim, God gives the authority over the Church to Peter. He is Rock (not “Rocky” as some irreverently suggest). You will also see him referred to a Cephas. (See for example John 1:42, 1 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 3:22, 1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:5, and Galatians 2:9.) That name, Cephas, is an Aramaic word. It is not pronounced “see-fuss.” The word is Cephas: Κηφᾶς Kēphas (kay-fas’) (Aramaic for rock) Jesus gave this new name to Simon Peter, the apostle. The Aramaic comes from כֵּף keph kafe; in Aramaic כֵּיפָא from kaphaph as to curve or bend down. Cephas is translated into Greek as Πέτρος (Petros) – Peter. Jesus chose Peter because it was time to build the Church of Jesus Christ. We know there is a right time for everything. We often recall the words from Ecclesiastes when we think about Time.

Ecclesiastes is a wonderful book to read, and even more wonderful to study. It is one of the “Wisdom Books.” There are all kinds of good, practical advice there. You’ll probably recall the 1965 song by The Byrds called Turn! Turn! Turn! It was actually written by Pete Seeger in the 1950’s. It comes directly from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The writer of Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth (The Teacher), goes on to say (Ecclesiastes 9:10b), “… for in the realm of the dead [Sheol, Hades, Hell], where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” (New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission.) All rights reserved worldwide.) It’s kind of like the old adage, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” which is similar to Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him, who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Everything – every thing – is a Gift from God. Therefore everything that is worth doing is worth doing well, because it all comes from God and it all goes to God. Even if we can’t admit that in our own lives, we see it so often we can be sure that it is true! It is indeed a Mystery, a Mystery of Truth that is solid as The Rock who is indeed our Awesome God!! (↔ Music Link) Belovéd, we are called to serve that Awesome God, so strong, so protective, so God! I have known some folks in the past who stood with the Church, who professed their belief in Christ Jesus, but their joy was insipid. Think of what the Apostle Paul said about that joy: Galatians 6:10 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. Romans 12:11 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. And David wrote, Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. (See Psalm 100:2)

We are the Church, the Living Stones built on The Cornerstone that Was Rejected. We have the Master Steward who founded the Church of the Kingdom of God – Peter – and our Church is the cleft in the Rock where we stand praising God as he passes into us in the Eucharist. Now doesn’t that just rock your world? How about we take that to The Mountain Top for a little Praise session?!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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