Have you ever looked up the references to Moriah in the Bible? In Genesis Abraham is told to go into the land of Moriah to a certain mount (nameless) which God would show him. In Second Chronicles it is identified with Jerusalem. Do you ever think of that in relation to our congregation? The Genesis reference is one of the most challenging in the whole Bible. It talks of the sacrifice of something tat is precious to us and central to our life. Abraham is able to offer that sacrifice because of the level of trust he has for God. And God does not fail him!
Sometimes the Christian life requires sacrifice and not just of money or time. It may require us to give up things we hold onto, things we believe, grudges we carry, hurt and sorrow we live with. As long as we hold onto them we can't fully experience Christ's love, grace, and will for us. And it is not easy. I shared the example last Sunday of the two lawyers who worked together even though they hated each other. When one became Christian he had to give up that hate with great effort and pray for, even love, his partner. That is hard work. It may not be hard like plowing a field or loading a truck or repairing an engine but it is hard nonetheless.
Steve Dabb's Sunday school class has been talking about some key issues in relationships. This week there was a question on his blackboard, What is prejudice? That is a question for all of us. It simply meets prejudging someone. Sometimes it is based on a prior experience with someone else who had similar characteristics: parents, or family, or education, or life work perhaps (lawyer, politician, pastor, used car salesman), or appearance (tall, slender, fat, short), or race (white, black, oriental), or language, or accent, or the car they drive, or even where they go to church. It can be anything that allows us to categorize, or even dismiss, someone else without getting to know them personally. Families, congregations, communities, nations (think red state blue state), can be divided by prejudice; not to mention the world's peoples.
Keep Reading >>