Experience being- we also experience doing= discipleship of Christ

The writings of our text in John’s gospel and in the Epistle can seem puzzling because they do not come down on one side or the other, sort of like the question which comes first-  the chicken or the egg ?

So, which comes first, the love of God or the love of our neighbour?  Which is more important, being or doing?  Are we saved by grace or by works?

Instinctively most people come down on one side or the other and we tend to hear only those parts of the good news of Jesus Christ that seem to reinforce what is comfortable to us. 

Some people instinctively hear the message in Jesus’ first public statement of ‘good news to the poor, release to the captives, sites of the blind, freedom for the oppressed.  Luke for 4.18-19.

Indeed, this is the heart of Jesus’ ministry they argue.  Christians witness Christ as the most faithful when he is actively doing things to improve life for society.  Other people automatically see that all Jesus’ activity arises out of his times of silence and prayer.

So there this tension between being and doing, and many of us struggle with these ideas.

The problem is that today’s gospel and Epistle, like most New Testament, does not have an either-or worldview.  This means the Bible is not written with a dualistic lens.

 Instead, they argue it is always both.  Both Epistle and costs for talking about the nature of God, which we contemplate with or at which we are drawn deeply into. We see this in Jesus ministry that begins starts not as he stands up and speaks-  but as he wrestles alone in the desert.

First, St John talks about love as the fundamental nature & of God.  Out of love, God the Son comes to die so that we can draw back into the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In God, love is not an abstract quality but one we experience directly and actively.  We experience being- we also experience doing.

God acts lovingly towards us, and that is how we know that he indeed loves.  Being and doing are not separate – God is love and acts lovingly in creation. 

For us, that is not always the case because, unlike God, we are not yet complete.  We don’t always act lovingly in creation. The people to whom 1 John is addressed are presuming the people who have accepted the saving love of God.  But for most of us particularly in this western world view, Love has a beginning and a finite end.

The view of Love that God has, is embed within his own self- God is love. Its is possible to be and do at the same time. Doing comes from our sense of being- which has not a start or end- it just is.….

Look at it his way – The great aim of our life is to make the beginning and the end of love get further and further apart from us so that there is more and more room to love.  In other words, God’s love has no beginning and has no end, and nor should ours.  As the great 17th-century poet John Donne said in his Christmas sermons, God love is like a circle.  It’s endless.

Our gospel reading points out another one of God’s undeniable characteristics: life

The language 1 Johns about love can sound repetitive and soft-edged, despite the urgency and power of what’s being said.  Still, if you put 1 John alongside Johns gospel, the reason for the urgency becomes clearer. 

God is the only source of life.  If you pick flowers, they die.  If you take people away from God, they die.  It is not that this is a punishment, exactly.  It is more than it is just a fact of life.

 If people choose to live apart from God, that choice is sustained into eternity. 

Because it is sustained into eternity, God urgently invites us with the help of the Holy Spirit to live in God in Christ, each and every day that we enjoy mortal breathe.

 In choosing God, we are grafted as branches into the true vine. There we can live, and bear fruit of the exact nature as the tree. 

The choice between being and doing is a false one.  You are either alive with the life of God, the life in which there is no distinction between what God is and what God does, or you are not alive at all.

Many of us would like to rely on the life-giving love of God for ourselves without having to change too much.  In today’s story from Acts, Philip wouldn’t understand the question, ‘should I spend time being or doing- should I be praying, or should I go out and preach?

Philip has allowed himself to be directly grafted into the life of God.  so, Philip prayed, and Philip also preached.  Phil came across An African who was miles from home. This guy was reading the Bible – Hebrew Scripture- and had some questions.  Philip reacted by being and doing, at the same time and the African eunuch came to faith and was baptised. Most of us wouldn’t know such an opportunity if we part if it passed us by, not even in a golden carriage and so we miss the chance that Philip seized to work with God.  And as Philip showed people the love of God wherever he went.

And we see the love God for us in elements of bread and wine.

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Keep safe, remember that Your Wellness Matters and live life on purpose in Hope, Faith and Love.

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse through The University of Derby, UK.

She Studies the BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK and is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

 Paula Rose Parish is a Pastor, Author, and founder, of Hope. Faith. Love, and Your Wellness Matters. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years, Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, and coach and taught at a Christian university. In addition, she has led workshops and retreats and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. 

Author of over 200 articles and two published books, Paula Rose, continues to write on the wellness of mind, body and spirit. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren and lives in South Wales, UK.

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Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

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Lessons in Lent- Not Condemnation but Redemption.

LUKE 13:1-9. 

Immediately prior to our Gospel lesson, Jesus warned that he came not to bring peace, but division. He also warned the crowds that, while they knew how to read the sky for signs of impending weather, they did not know “interpret this time” 

Immediately after our Gospel lesson, a synagogue leader will criticize Jesus for healing on the sabbath, and Jesus will put him to shame, be reminding them that they killed the prophets.

 TWO STORIES AND A PARABLE

Luke gives us a couple of stories that call us to repentance and a parable that illustrates the patience and love of God.  Both stories call for repentance.  The story of the Galileans warns of the coming judgment—“unless you repent, you will all perish”.  The fig-tree parable offers hope that the Lord will defer judgment to another day.

Some scholars see the stories as calling for response by individuals and the parable as calling for response by the nation and its leaders—scribes, Pharisees, and the like.

LUKE 13:1-5.  UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL ALL PERISH

1Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way. 4Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”

“Now there was some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices” (v. 1). The news is indeed terrible. Galileans came to the temple to make their sacrifices, and Pilate’s soldiers slaughtered them in that holy place—profaned the altar with human blood—compounded murder with sacrilege.

Imagine murder in your church on Sunday morning. Imagine the carpet soaked with human blood mingled with communion wine – yuk!

Pilate Got the Sack

The incident that led to Pilate’s removal from office had to do with the slaughter by Pilate’s soldiers of Samaritans who had gathered on Mount Gerizim to see if one of their prophets could locate temple vessels that were supposed to be buried there.

Pilate’s superiors ordered Pilate to return to Rome to answer charges that arose from that incident. We know little about the outcome of that inquiry or Pilate’s later life.

Jesus, however, responds in a completely unexpected way, saying, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered such things?” (v. 2). He addresses the unspoken assumption that these Galileans sinned grievously, provoking God’s judgment. Indeed, in Israel’s mind, sin and judgment are closely linked.

It is weirdly comforting to believe that suffering is the direct result of sin because it eliminates randomness—explains suffering—offers us a way to avoid the disasters that we see befalling others-

 – but is that the correct way to look at it? I don’t think it’s so dualist as this, after all. We know that Bad things do happen to good people.

The text continues “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way” (v. 3). Jesus denies that the Galileans suffered because of their sins but calls his listeners to repent lest they suffer for theirs

– now that’s reasonable!

Redemption-(Bringing you back into the love of God)

What happened to the Galileans is history, and nothing can be done about it. The fate of Jesus’ listeners, however, is still negotiable. Jesus does not condemn them but instead shows them the way. His purpose is to redeem.

While not all tragedy is the result of sin, sin sometimes leads to tragedy. Jesus’ listeners have sinned (as we all have), and he calls them to repent so that they might escape possible disaster. This is a courageous response indeed.

We live in a time of victim-culture where people become self-righteous and resistant to a different world view, correction or criticism.

The Jewish leaders saw themselves as victims of Jesus’ preaching. By calling for repentance, Jesus appears unsympathetic to the national cause—uncaring about Roman cruelties. In Nazareth, townspeople tried to kill Jesus when he spoke well of Gentiles (4:16-30). The same could easily have happened on this occasion.

“Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem?” (v. 4). The pool of Siloam is in Jerusalem (John 8:20; 9:7) and, presumably, the tower of Siloam was near the pool. The issue is the same as in the first instance: Did God target these eighteen because of their sins? Jesus moves the sin/suffering debate from the context of suffering at Roman hands to suffering at God’s hands—from a massacre to an “act of God.”

“I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way” (v. 5). This is the same response that Jesus gave to the first story. Jesus denies that the eighteen were worse offenders than others but uses the opportunity to call his listeners to repentance.

 Again, his purpose is not condemnation but redemption. The call to repentance shows that it is not too late for his listeners. Salvation is still possible.

By the time Luke writes this Gospel, Rome will have destroyed Jerusalem. For Luke, there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the city’s sin and its fate.

Repentance is a major emphasis in this Gospel, it’s not a demand but instead offers an unconditional promise of salvation.  If they don’t repent, they will perish, but if they do repent, God will forgive—will save them -simple!

Live Every Day in an Attitude of Repentance

We often wonder what a truly successful life looks like. I think one of the keys to success is repentance.

We need to live lives of repentance because we don’t know what the day or tomorrow will hold for us.

Repentance helps us to live happy lives and to experience a happy death.

Repentance helps us to live as forgiven people—helps us to face life and death without fear.

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Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

Virtual Hugs

Paula Xx

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA

Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

 Paula Rose Parish is an author, and the founder, of Hope. Faith. Love. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, coach and taught at Christian university, led workshops and retreats, and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. Author of over 100 articles and two books, Paula Rose continues to write on the spiritual life. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren, and lives in South Wales, UK.

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL, it’s free!.

Paula Rose is a Wellness Coach Ordained Minister, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling. and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals

👛SHOP WITH ME

ETSY:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaulaRoseStudio?ref=shop_sugg

SHOP www.moonrosemindfulness.com

FOOD for your Soul- www.paularoseparish.com

FOR All things WELLNESS  http://health-well-being.uk

👱‍♀️ CHAT WITH ME

📸 Instagram: paularoseparish2020.

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