Aloha Friday Message – December 28, 2018 – Locked Out!

1852AFC122818 – Locked Out!

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Luke 2:49 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  The Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) reads 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

¡Que la bendición esté siempre con ustedes y que Dios los bendiga, Amados! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!) Christmas day has come and gone, but it’s still the Christmas Season! Christmas lasts until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2, 2019. Between today and then, we have the Octave of Christmas – that ends on January 1, 2019 with the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God – and continues through The Epiphany of the Lord. That celebration focuses on the appearance of Jesus before the Magi, and in rare occasions, as well as the Baptism of Jesus as an adult by John in the Jordan River. Normally the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on January 13, the octave day of Epiphany. In some churches there is also a “Season of Epiphany” which begins on January 6 and continues until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. All of these events are part of an ongoing open invitation to come together as community and worship together. No matter where you go to church, if you are a Christian of any sort, you are called to be with your fellow Christians to share in the Sacraments and fellowship, the Κοινωνία of The Church. Koinonia {koy-nohn-ee’-ah} means fellowship, association, community, communion, distribution, contribution, or to communicate. This word partially describes the way we share in the life and mission of the Body of Christ, and also hints at how the Holy Trinity is a single community of Three Divine Persons. It is included in our prayers – “graciously grant some share and fellowship with your holy Apostles and Martyrs” and in our Scripture readings from Acts 2:4242 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

We who have been claimed by Christ are called – actually, commanded – to be with and for each other:

John 13:34-35 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

We are part of the Church:

Acts 11:26b So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Christian means people of Christ.

Jesus was in the habit of going to the synagogue:

Luke 4:16 16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. This was his training from childhood. Mary and Joseph were surprised that Jesus was not with them. When he asked his parents how they could not know he would be at the Temple, he was surprised they did not understand he couldn’t be anywhere else. The word we have for “did you not know” is οἶδα (eidó) {i’-do} ~~ be aware, behold, consider, perceive as in I know, remember, appreciate. It is used first as a physical statement of perception “I see ____.” Then, it is also used as a metaphorical expression for mental perception. “I see what you mean.” “I see why you say that.” Beyond that it is also applied to a spiritual form of perception which entails comprehension of a principle or manner of conduct, to discern what is actual, or distinguish between proper and improper. That must have been one of those “AH-HA” moments that often comes up in parenting. “Ah. He’s the son of God. Surely he must be at his Father’s house tending to his Father’s interests!”

We come together as a community to share the Love of Christ – the Love he himself gave us to share with others:

Philippians 2:1-2 1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. This means we don’t go to church to do our own thing; we go to be part of “Christ’s thing” which is to love God completely and to love each other in the same way Jesus Loves us. We are to do that, we are to live that, and we are to be that all the time everywhere in church or not. In fact, we should be more focused on living a life of charity and fellowship outside the church. Inside the church we get powered-up through fellowship, sacrament, and participation (unlike fencepost Christians who just show up but never offer up). But like the bandleader said, “85% of the gig is showing up.”

We sometimes hear it expressed as, “Ya can’t win if ya don’t play.” So many of us have at times given up opportunities to share in the EXTRAORDINARY benefits and graces of Christian fellowship! It is as if we have locked ourselves out of that communion of the saints by giving all kinds of excuses for not sharing our lives with others. I’m going to give you a list of excuses people use about not going to church; however, instead of saying “church” or “fellowship,” I’m going to use something more common: Eating.

A lot of people always have a good excuse for not attending their church each week. If you take those excuses and apply them to eating, they might look like this list:

 

  1. I was forced to eat as a child.
  2. People who eat all the time are hypocrites; they aren’t really hungry.
  3. There are so many different kinds of food, I can’t decide what to eat.
  4. I used to eat, but I got bored and stopped.
  5. I only eat on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter.
  6. None of my friends will eat with me.
  7. I’ll start eating when I get older.
  8. I don’t really have time to eat.
  9. I don’t believe that eating does anybody any good. It’s just a crutch.
  10. Restaurants and grocery stores are only after your money.
  11. I eat better when I am alone in the mountains, or on the golf course.
  12. I don’t need to be fed when I eat. I get everything I need without putting myself through that.
  13. Eating is the opiate of the people.
  14. I’ve had so many negative experiences with eating, being fed, and learning to prepare food that I just have lost interest. I mean what’s the point? It all ends up in the same place anyway.
  15. Eating isn’t going to get me any closer to heaven than I already am.
  16. I don’t need to eat with a bunch of people who are frauds about food! They don’t really know what eating is all about, the hypocrites!

Now, if you think about substituting koinónia – fellowship at church – for “eat,” the excuses sound pretty lame, right? Please also recall that God can and will shut the door behind the Saints and against the sinners: Genesis 7:16 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in. Hollywood’s misinterpretation notwithstanding, no one could open the door thereafter – none could exit and none could enter. Communing with the Saints (i.e., the redeemed of God) is how we can stay on the better side of The Door.

Belovéd, the point here is clear; there are no excuses for missing out on God’s great Gift to us, his Church on Earth. We can come up with all the “reasons” we want, but there are no excuses. When we do make excuse after excuse, we are locking ourselves out and throwing away the key. Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” If you cannot muster the will to go to church, it’s highly unlikely you will ever prophesy, cast out demons, or do other deeds of great power in the name of Jesus. And HE tells us even if you do these things, even if you warm the pew every Sunday, unless you do the will of Our Father, you will not find that key to unlock your passageway to Heaven. And what is the Will of the Father?

To repent and believe the Good News: Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” See Also 2 Peter 3:9.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit: Luke 11:13 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! See also Acts 2:38.

To be pure: Matthew 5:48 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. See also Matthew 5:8.

To be thankful: Psalm 118:1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! See also Psalm 26:7.

To accept suffering: Matthew 10:22 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. See Also 1 Peter 3:17 and Matthew 5:10-12.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Actually, it would be a lot if one had to do it alone; but we do not have to be alone – we have each other, and together – when we rely on and fellowship with the Church – we find strength upon strength. The door is unlocked and opened because we went there and knocked; the “key” is being there. All of this requires awareness, perception, and understanding. We need a nearly-continuous flow of “AH-HA moments,” and a great place to access that kind of resource is – you guessed it – The Church.

Don’t lock yourself out. The key in the door is our presence in Church, together. AMEN.

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.

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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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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