Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Deceived and Deceiving?

We need saints like Columbanus.

Thus it is perilous to dwell among deceptions and deceits, and not to see the truths you ought to love, and in addition to see things that entice you by their flight, and as in a dream allure you to sin with them...

  - Columbanus, Sermon III, Irish, 7th century

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”

  - Revelation 3.17

The people of Gaul (France) in Columbanus’ day had convinced themselves that life was good. It was the turn of the 7th century. Peace was over the land. Kings and priests went about their daily work content. Most people lived in poverty, but everybody expected to, so few were disappointed or restless. The people who really mattered felt just fine about their lives, and everybody else would just have to be content with the status quo.

The reason for this general complacency was that no one was pointing out the sins of the people, condemning their spiritual lassitude, challenging their accepted practices, or showing the way to a more glorious experience of the Kingdom of God. All manner of compromise, materialism, and failures of love had become established in the Church. But as long as no one mentioned such things, everyone assumed they were just what was supposed to be.

And then Columbanus and his team arrived – disciplined, fearless, holy, zealous for the Kingdom, straightforward in speech, industrious in labor, and not about to put up with excuses or compromises from anyone when it came to following Jesus.

From the day Columbanus and his companions set foot on the soil of Gaul, you could almost hear a dreading “Uh oh” begin to spread throughout the land.

The peace of Gaul was soon disrupted, as Columbanus exposed the priests and bishops of that land, together with the king and his court, for the hypocrites and toadies they were. Columbanus preached against their complacency and self-indulgence. He troubled the pope in Rome about the slackers who worked for him in Gaul. He ministered to the poor and imprisoned, and he welcomed all who showed up at his door. His diligence, example, and teaching drew hundreds of young people.

The jig was up for the minders of the status quo; the game was over, and the deceit was out in the air for all to see.

Naturally, those in places of power wanted nothing more than to get this meddling Irishman out of the country and back to where he came from.

God, of course, had a different idea, and the powerful and transforming ministry of Columbanus opened the door for thousands of other Irish missionaries (peregrini) to come and renew the churches in Europe and lay the foundation for great Kingdom advance.

Church members today seem content. They smile during worship and clap their hands when inclined to do so. They greet the pastor with a smile, and he smiles back, appreciating their appreciation of his affirming message. Nobody expects too much of anybody else where taking up crosses is concerned.

The worship bands happily play on while the murky waters of secularism, materialism, and mere sensuality wash over the decks of the Church and threaten to swamp any identity with the martyrs and heroes of the past.

Are we wretched and just don’t know it? Pitiable, poor, blind, and naked?

Deceived, and deceiving?

To the extent that we become complacent about seeking the Kingdom and glory of God, we will fall into patterns of deception that cause us to be satisfied with the status quo, rather than with increasing in Christlikeness and furthering His rule on earth as it is in heaven.

Pray that God will send preachers and teachers like Columbanus to shake us out of our complacency and lead us into new and more fruitful and glorious lives in the Kingdom of God.

For Reflection
1. What does it mean to you to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness?

2. How can we know when we have become complacent about our walk with and work for the Lord?

Psalm 82 (Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
God stands amid His people to judge their rulers all:
How long will they oppress those who on His favor call?
How long will they the wicked show partiality,
and treat with scorn the meek who their proper care should be?

Behold the weak and orphaned in need of loving care;
the destitute and smitten are with you everywhere.
Do justice, then, you rulers, to all God’s needy lambs.
Redeem, revive, retrieve them from wicked, sinful hands. 

They do not understand, they in darkness walk around,
while Zion’s walls are shaken  and scattered on the ground.
God says to them, “My children, the sons of God Most High,
though you be high exalted, like all men you shall die.”

Rise up, O God, in splendor according to Your worth!
Rise up in pow’r to judge all the nations of the earth!
Rise up, O God our Savior, and hear our fervent call,
for You possess and rule o’er the nations one and all.

Lord Jesus, help me to see myself, and my church, as You do. Revive us, O Lord!

Know Him, Love Him, Serve Him

Two books can help you in your desire to grow in the highest thing. To Know Him will help you to see Jesus and meditate on His beauty and love for you. Order your free copy by clicking here. Know, Love, Serve will help you set up a comprehensive plan for learning and growing in the highest thing. A free copy is available by clicking here.

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T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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