Aloha Friday Message – May 26, 2017 – What have you done?

1721AFC052617 – What have you done?

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Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Normally this weekend I would be writing to you about the biggest event in my Christian life – the Ascension. Why do I say “in my Christian life?” I say that because of all the events in Jesus’ life, that moment gives me the greatest hope; it confirms everything else that Jesus said. Today I am going to just ask you to look at this essay posted at called Look Him Up. It contains my thoughts about what the angels said to the Disciples as Jesus ascended into heaven.

Today, though, I am going to take a look at one of those verses we often skip over. It is from this Sunday’s second reading. When you see it, you’ll recognize it as something familiar, something about which we all might say, “Yeah, I remember that, so-o-o-o …” Come with me and let’s take a look:

Ephesians 1:22-23 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

OK, right, Christ is the head of the Church which is the Body of Christ on earth. I want you to think about the implications of this phrase: the head over all things for the church. Jesus is the head of the Church, no question about that, but that is not the limit of his sovereignty. Jesus is also El Shaddai – the Almighty Everliving God who created heaven and earth and All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” (See John 1:3) He IS God. Perhaps you will also recall this bold declaration by the Apostle Paul to the Colossians:

Colossians 1:15-20 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

We know God is Absolutely, Utterly, Unconditionally, Supremely, Unchangeably, Perfectly Sovereign. When we refer to God as being Sovereign, what does Sovereign mean? It signifies ultimate power which is once and for all an autonomous and unlimited authority over self and all others, all things, all places, and all times. That Sovereignty resides in Jesus the Christ. Last week we talked about what it means to obey Jesus’ commandments (which are, of course, God’s commandments), and we also saw that we have a choice; we can love him by obeying his commandments, or we can ignore his commandments and fail to love him (See Deuteronomy 30:19-20) If you are reading this today, perhaps it is because, like me, you have chosen to obey his commandments by loving him. Like me, you also know that loving Jesus is neither easy nor merely emotional. Loving Jesus, like any form of Love, requires action. “Like” is an emotion we feel when our minds recognize somebody or something as pleasing. It is not a “call to action.” On the other hand, “Love” is a call to action, and when we are called to action by Divinity through Divine Commands, we must choose either obedience or rebellion. Did you click on that link in Deuteronomy a few lines up? You should, because it will shed light on this link:

Joshua 24:15But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Whenever I see or hear that short verse, a flood of memories washes over me. Among the first and sweetest is hearing my dad quote that verse as part of his Christian witness to others. He was serious about it, and also joyous about it, even excited about what it meant for all of us. There are “contemporary Christian Music” songs about it; I don’t remember it being in any of the hymns we sang at Corona. Another memory that never fails to surface comes from 1979. I’ve mentioned this one before, but I think it’s worth bringing up again because it fits with today’s lesson. You might want to listen to this link privately because it’s about 7 minutes long and exuberant:

Gotta serve somebody  ~~ Bob Dylan, 1979 (↔ Music Link)

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed,
you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Thirty-eight years ago, Bob Dylan had a powerful conversion experience. He recorded a few Gospel songs. He changed his view of the world. The world did not exactly embrace his conversion. Years later (circa 1986) he would say he doesn’t follow any organized religion, and that the songs – the music, both religious and secular – were his lexicon. Did he leave the Lord? Well, as the saying in our house goes, “Only God knows, and he’s not tellin’.” However, what Robert Zimmerman wrote in that powerful lyric creates a strong echo in my heart for my dad’s testimony of Joshua’s statement. I’m going to have to serve somebody. That means I have to obey Somebody’s commands. I don’t wish to serve anyone other than the Lord; the Lord, however, commands that I do more than “merely” love him. What do you remember about that from last week? Who is it we are to love? We must love God and our neighbor (See Matthew 22:37-39) and even the people in our communities who are alien to us (See Leviticus 19:34). Do I, do you, do we, does somebody or anybody do that every day? You love him, so what have you done about it? What have you done? If we do any of these things, we are only starting to obey his commands because we are to do all of these … and more.

What have you done?

Served somebody. Prayed for somebody. Fed somebody. Instructed somebody. Visited somebody who is sick or in prison. Buried a loved one or a stranger. Clothed somebody. Warned somebody about sin. Comforted somebody. Forgiven somebody. Asked somebody for forgiveness. Patiently loved somebody. Shared faith with somebody. Slaked somebody’s thirst. Sheltered somebody. Helped baptize somebody. Married somebody. Loved, worshiped, adored, praised, thanked, and glorified Somebody – Jesus, the Christ of God who lives and reigns with God, the Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, the LORD, the Giver of Life. Been merciful to somebody as in Luke 6:36 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Have you? Of course you have, or at least you’ve done some of it; or maybe you’ve done all of that and more. “God knows but He’s not tellin.'” This kind of obedience goes in at least two directions – out and in.

It goes out to all the World because that is what we are commanded to do in Matthew 28:19-20 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We are to reach out, to make Disciples, to baptize with water in the Trinitarian formula, we are to teach obedience of his commands, and we are to remember him in the Sacraments and in our daily lives. It also goes in to our hearts, our churches, our loved ones, because he is the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Whatever we do in our lives, we are serving somebody; there is no insular existence that can be entirely shuttered from God. Serve him or not, he is always there to welcome our decision to serve him. That’s what we’re going to do because as for me and my household, we will serve the Lordhe, and he alone is fullness of him who fills all in all. He, and he alone, is Sovereign. What are we going to do for him? We’re gonna have to serve somebody.

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

Share-A-Prayer: Recently RV underwent a PET scan. It was a difficult process because the device was over a hundred miles away, and it took several visits before they could actually complete the scan. It showed adenocarcinoma (formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue). Non-small-cell lung cancer in his right lung, in his lymph nodes. and there are some spots in his left lung. PET scan shows spots in the right pelvis bone & the cranium. Tends to grow slower. Has spread outside of lungs, so Stage IV. R, and his wife B, are continuing to serve Somebody. Please serve them with your prayers. Thank you!

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

New Living Translation (NLT) ~~ Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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About Chick Todd

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

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