Aloha Friday Message – May 16, 2014 – Special People

1420ACF051514 – Special People

Read it online here, please.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Today I want to give you some cross references to this passage so that all of us can see how thoroughly the Apostle Paul knew scripture, and how true he was to the meaning of that scripture. I’ll show you a phrase, then give you the scripture reference.

A chosen race: Isaiah 43:20-21The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

As such, a people chosen by God by Divine election, Ephesians 1:4-6For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In lovehe predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

By making Israel of and for himself, he created a royal priesthood (one is reminded of the King and Priest of Salem, Melchizedek, the priest to El Elyon – God on High). Exodus 19:5-6“Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites”

In that passage we also see God chose Israel to be a holy nation. Israel was unique among all nations because she was consecrated to God. As a consecrated nation, they were given the priests of God to facilitate their purpose – to praise and glorify God – and the circumcision prescribed by God through Abraham. The consecration included a call to holiness and inward purity inspired by devotion to God, and as shown physically, by a “cutting off” from the World.

In this way, God claims them as his own possession: Malachi 3:17They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them.

Even after they were repeatedly unfaithful, God remained faithful to his side of the Covenant. Even though Israel repeatedly defied the terms of the Covenant, God repaired the damage they had done. At one point, they had transgressed so badly that they became “no people.” Hosea 1:9Then the Lord said, “Call him (i.e., Israel) Lo-Ammi {עַמִּ֑י} (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.

But, God, because of his infinite Mercy and untiring faithfulness continued to provide his chosen people with the very things they refused him. He restored them to his expectations in the Covenant. When they were “no people,” he did what it took to restore them to “chosen people.” He is once again their God because they are once again his people because of his Divine Mercy. Hosea 2:23“At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself! I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ Then they will reply, ‘You are our God!'”

God keeps creating “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” by taking what we have not defiled with our sinfulness and re-creating it – and us – into the people he intends us to be. Just as Christ is the cornerstone rejected by the builders but chosen before all time to be the foundation on which the Eternal Nation of God – the resurrected People of God – will be built. God alone has done this, for it was by God through Christ Jesus that he has made it possible in us to fulfill the purpose for which we have been created. We Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, 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. Remember what Jesus said in his triumphal entry to Jerusalem? “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40)

It is a beautiful thought to contemplate being built into the Everlasting City the Spiritual edifice of the Christian community, as Living Stones. Just for fun, Google “Living Stones” and read some of the insights. Here is a story which expresses another beautiful thought.

I want to leave you with a story from a few years ago.

What a beautiful thought! 

On November 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.

But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap – it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do. We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches, and limp his way off stage – to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. But he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes, and then signaled the conductor to begin again.

The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, and re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.

When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said – not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone – “You know – sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

   

What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows – perhaps that is the definition of life – not just for artists but also, for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who – suddenly – in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings. So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.

~~The World-Famous Author, Anonymous

It is not what you are or what you have been that God sees with all-merciful eyes, but what you desire to be when you are freed from what you do not need. Please visit Genesis 9:1-13 (God’s covenant with Noah), Psalm 102 (the afflicted man sees impermanence and ruin, but God is eternal and merciful), and Mark 8:27-33 (Peter rebukes Jesus for saying He is going to die, and Jesus rebukes Peter for doubting what He had said). In every case, God supplies what we are lacking so that we can be his people created to give him the sacrifices of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise. Here are some other passages to make this clearer.

James 4:8-10 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

If you do that, you will be amazed at how much music comes from what you have left after you have emptied out your pride, your sin, and your duplicity.

If you think that doesn’t work, try it again. Get closer still. Please. He will come near to you through the power of His Grace.

“Before you can clean the fish, you first have to catch it.”

Please pray for our leaders locally and nationally, for our soldiers at home and abroad, for the sick and the hungry. Pray for wisdom for our leaders and for ourselves as we prepare to elect more leaders soon. Pray especially for those who make excuses for not noticing that God has called them to Himself.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

 

chick

 

 

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About Chick Todd

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

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