Aloha Friday Message – September 8, 2017 – Fully Filling Love

Aloha Friday Message – September 8, 2017 – Fully Filling Love

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And guess what! Now we have a READER VIEW AVAILABLE button!

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today’s post is #600 – this is the six-hundredth post to the Moon Beam Network at aloha-friday.org and it’s time for something new!! Go ahead and click on the link above – the one that says here – and then look in the upper-left corner of the post for this button:

Just click on the READER VIEW button, and you will see a black-&-white-text representation of the page! This super-duper bit of Internet magic was set up by our friends at Kukui Corporation, the premier web-building agent for business-development applications – the All-In-One Success Platform ®. I can tell you I am astonished at their kindness and delighted with their superlative skills. Thank you from the depths of my soul, Ryan and Kate Wilmot, for all the amazing things with which you have helped the MBN.

Let’s take a look at what’s coming up this Sunday. Part of the Gospel is often misunderstood or applied incorrectly, we will look at it in the context of Christ’s message and what God intends overall for us.  Let’s begin with an excerpt from the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel (Yechezqel – “God Strengthens”)

Ezekiel 33:9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.

Perhaps you will recall why God chose Israel to be “his people.” I invite you to follow a link to this passage where God is telling Israel what he had in mind when he made them his people. Take a moment to read Deuteronomy 7:7-10. You can see that God chose Israel, not because they were numerous and mighty (indeed they were few and enslaved!). Instead, he chose them so that they would go out to all other nations exemplifying good and destroying evil. Through their example, they were to demonstrate to others God’s mercy, power, and goodness. Israel was anointed to live as a nation of priests, prophets, and kings – a shining light to the entire world. God’s intention was for Israel to be a conspicuous and “peculiar” (special, distinctive) people, showing others the path to God and his promised provision of Redemption through his anointed Messiah, a Savior for all earthlings. For the most part, Israel failed to live up to God’s expectations. Nonetheless, God’s penultimate mission for Israel, the Advent of the Messiah, was made perfectly and fully complete in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ of God.

It is for this reason that God caused Ezekiel to speak out against the sinful persons in Israel. The righteous are held responsible for the unrighteous because they too are to be righteous Israelites who seek to convert their neighbors regardless of nationality. This is demanded of them as an act of Love – Love for God and Love for neighbor. In Sunday’s second reading from the Epistles, the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:10 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Israel had The Law, and the Prophets, and it was their God-given duty to share the precepts of righteousness everywhere and always. There are many instances in the Epistles where Paul warned against living in a “Worldly Way,” that is, living outside Christ’s Law of Love. Paul echoed Christ, Christ echoed God, and God consistently said “all you need is Love.” Most of you will have heard and perhaps still remember the “Chapter of Love,” 1 Corinthians 13. Toward the end of that chapter, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:10 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly*, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. Being fully known, and therefore fully filled, is one outcome of Love.

* αἰνίγματι (ainigmati) from αἴνιγμα (ainigma) {ah’-ee-nig-ma} – a riddle, an enigma, a mystery, a puzzle.

Love is the vessel, the vehicle, and the vision through which God reveals himself to us. If we know love, we know God. Let’s take a quick review of three verses from the First Letter of John:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

How are we to conquer the world’s unrighteousness souls with God’s Righteous Love if we do not know Love? How can we fulfill the mission God has given his chosen people – which, through adoption, includes everyone who believes in Jesus – if we do not live Love? And what are we to do about sharing that love if fellow believers are failing to know and live Love? There are pretty straight-forward instructions in the Gospel for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 10, 2017 – and they go like this: Matthew 18:19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Now, this is the verse I mentioned that is often misunderstood or misapplied, so I’m going to dissect it a bit. But first, think of it in the context of what Jesus is saying. He’s talking about the Church. He’s saying that, in keeping with the commandment given by God that we are to live in his paradigm, we are commanded to assist a fellow Christian who does not know or live love – which correction is to be given not judgmentally, but lovingly. First we are to speak to that person one-to-one. If that doesn’t bring conversion, then we get some others, two or three, to “do an intervention.” That 2-3 (or more) might not all be Christians, but they should be people with good moral standards. If that doesn’t work, then we take it to the church for their input; BUT, not necessarily the whole church. Let’s see what we have in the Greek in Matthew 18:19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:20 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. First we look at the phrase “agree on earth.”

The Greek here is the root work for our idea of “symphony.” It is an instance of harmonious accord. Such harmony is pleasing to God who created all things in harmony. What Paul is talking about is a person who obstinately refuses to know and to live Love. Such folk are to be excluded from the church. He is telling the Apostles, who have the authority to bind or loose on earth and in Heaven, that they are granted the power to include or exclude members as they conduct the organizing of the church under Jesus’ leadership. However, the whole of the church is not required to authorize such a decision because two or three in harmonious accord can make that decision and Christ will honor it. The key is in the Greek work for “agree.” That is the word from which we get “symphony:” συμφωνήσωσιν (symphōnēsōsin) from συμφωνέω (sumphóneó) {soom-fo-neh’-o}. Often this verse is applied to the idea of praying as intercessors for each other – and that is certainly a good thing and something which Christ commends elsewhere. But here, Jesus is telling the Apostles that they have authority to build the church in his name. There is something to be said also about the idea of “gathered together.” The connotation is that of a hospitable gathering with an agreed-upon purpose. That, of course, is the basis for the phrase “agree upon.” To be clear, I am not saying that Jesus did not tell us to come to him in prayer for each other. I am just saying that this passage – in context – is not addressing that. It is addressing how to build the church. For Jesus’ and the Apostles’ commands to pray for others (in order to build the church) see Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:28, Acts 7:38-60, Hebrews 7:25, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, and many others.

These passages show us that, in the same way Israel was to be a “light to the nations” (See Isaiah 49:6), we are to be a light set upon a lampstand to give light to all (See Matthew 5:14-15). This is because many within the church as well as outside the church have lives such as the Apostle Paul described in Philippians 3:18-19 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. “Earthly things” are things that are not based in God’s Love; they are based in selfishness and unrighteousness, and therefore cannot fully fill. Only Love fulfills God’s command to  be light and salt, goodness and joy, and only Love can give us a life that is fully filling – up to the brim and running over – with all of God’s very best stuff, the stuff of Love.

Belovéd, Love one another. Do no harm to our enemies, but pray for them that they might become our adopted brothers and sisters in Christ. Be witnesses to all the world – especially to those who err when following Jesus; but do so as Christ commanded: Gently, together, with harmony and purpose, bring them back into the Symphony of the Ages. Help the wicked turn from their ways, and you shall live.

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

Share-A-Prayer
The fully filling life is accessible to everyone who speaks with and about our Triune God. You are invited to share these recommendations for prayer topics. After the short list, there is a video I want you to see. No one speaks, and there are only teenagers holding hand-lettered signs, but the message they have for us is POWERFUL. After you watch the video, come back to these prayer topics and speak to the World about and with God. We desperately need him back. It will take Love, but we have more than enough and some to spare if we but Love God and neighbor.

Watch the video HERE.

  • Pray ceaselessly for the parts of the world – NOT JUST IN America – suffering from humongous fires
  • Pray ceaselessly for the parts of the world suffering from humongous floods – NOT JUST IN America
  • Pray ceaselessly for the people of the world suffering from humongous anger and sin – NOT JUST IN America
  • Pray ceaselessly for the people of the world suffering from humongous hatred and separation – NOT JUST IN America
  • Pray for hope, healing, and health for the chronically ill – EVERYONE EVERYWHERE
  • Pray for all national leaders that they might govern with morality, compassion, integrity, wisdom, and justice – ALL OF THEM
  • Pray for each other. I am praying for you. (Check the link?)

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.

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

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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About Chick Todd

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

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