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

Slam Dunk

You can see it coming from half court.

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

  - 1 Thessalonians 1.9, 10

When they were come together, Gall cleared his throat and poured out into their ears and hearts, mellow words entreating them to turn to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who would reveal to poor lukewarm human nature the approach to the kingdom of heaven. Then in the sight of all he raised the images of their own gods and threw them into the lake.

  - An Anonymous Monk, The Life of St. Gall (Irish, 8th century)

It is at once the most elegant and graceful, yet most violent and final play in all of sports - the solo fastbreak slam dunk.

You can see it coming from half court. The steal, the breakaway, the stride beginning at the free throw line, the ball seeming to rise as if by its own power, the body lifting, soaring, gliding, zeroing in, then - WHAM! Down the ball goes through the net with tremendous force. The backboard shakes. Cheerleaders turn away and cover their heads. Photographers duck and click as they aim for the best shot of the night and try not to get run over.

Can't you see this, there on the shores of that ancient Swiss lake? Gall is quietly, sweetly, eloquently presenting the case for Jesus, calling people to believe, offering the glories of the Kingdom of God, and promising the hope of forgiveness and eternal life. You can see the faces lighting up with anticipation. You can hear the sniffles of joy. People are beginning to come forward out of pagan darkness into the light of the glorious truth of Jesus. And then, WHAM! Gall picks up the local idols and hurls them into the lake!

You gotta love that, I mean, really. Some of those in the audience believed and were saved on that early 7th century evening. Some got really ticked and began to plot the murder of Gall, Columbanus, and the whole itinerate company (they would not succeed). But the combination of grace and sweetness with Kingdom-violent finality and the tremendous drama of the overthrow of pagan deities - Man, I would loved to have been there.

Is the Gospel this final with us? Do we know its elegance, grace, and sweetness, yet try to hold on to our pagan ways of thinking, feeling, and being in the world? Have we cast off the idols of doubt, fear, self-interest, self-indulgence, materialism, complacency, sensuality, and all the rest? Are they languishing beneath the waters of God's glory, as it weighs down on our souls, making all things new?

Paul saw it in the Thessalonians, and so did everybody else. Does anybody see it in you and me?

T. M. Moore, Principal

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Men are beginning to pray! We're already starting to receive reports from those of you who have ordered copies of If Men Will Pray and are starting to share them with others. Great! Order your copies today and challenge the men in your life - like Gall did those astonished Swiss pagans - to throw off their complacency and get serious about prayer! And you can still sign up to study God's Word with us at The Ailbe Seminary. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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