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.
An Attack on Life?--Such an assault as is described here is an attack on the very idea of life – a threat to a man’s legacy.
The sixth commandment
Deuteronomy 25.11, 12
“When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Your eye shall have no pity.”
Such an assault as is described here is an attack on the very idea of life – a threat to a man’s legacy. Even though her husband may be getting the worse of this scuffle, a woman must not think to attack her husband’s assailant by seeking to injure his private parts. He is, after all, still a man, and his private parts represent his ability to fulfill his God-given mandate to fill the earth. She must not take it in hand to jeopardize his ability to do that. Presumably, there must have been other ways to come to the defense of her husband, for the penalty for this violation is severe.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.
Protect Your Neighbors’ Wellbeing--Here is yet another way that neighbors exercised responsibility for one another’s wellbeing.
Loans and Pledges--Taking someone’s livelihood in pledge for a loan was absolutely forbidden
The Protection of Slaves--Slaves in ancient Israel enjoyed certain protections.
Cities of Refuge (4)--God knows the sinful tendencies of our hearts, and in His grace and wisdom, He also knows how to leave room for transformation to occur.
Cities of Refuge (3)--There will always be sin in our midst, always be death, and always be people against whom revenged should be enacted – at least, as the offended see it.
What then shall we say of that happiness to come which is promised to the saints, which we consider to be nothing else but the pure and unmediated contemplation of Divine Essence itself? For if the eminence of the Divine Essence surpasses the purest power of angelic contemplation, how will the happiness of human nature be able to contemplate the eminence of the Divine Essence?
- Eriugena, Periphyseon (Irish, 9th century)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Psalm 16.11
Christians practice the presence of Jesus in two ways. First is by learning to walk in His Spirit, to live by faith rather than by sight, so that Christ within us makes us willing and able to do the good pleasure of God in all things (Phil. 2.13). This is the sense of Jesus being with us, where we are, to comfort, strengthen, embolden, convict, direct, and transform (Matt. 28.20; 2 Cor. 2.12-18).
Here the challenge is to understand how Christ works in us and to use the means He has provided so that we make the most of every opportunity to make way for Him to live in and through us toward others (Eph. 5.15-17).
The second way is what Eriugena and psalmist had in mind: practicing the presence of Christ with Him, where He is. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, in glory and majesty and magnificent splendor and power. But so are we! Paul says we have been seated there with Christ, so that, in a certain way, we can both engage Him in His glory and see the whole course of our lives, and all the events of history, from the vantage point of eternal security, strength, and beauty (Eph. 2.5, 6; 2 Cor. 4.6; Pss. 46, 110).
The Scriptures offer glimpses of the exalted Christ which are sufficient to encourage us to an ever-enlarging vision of our glorious unseen King and His heavenly court. The purposes of these glimpses - Pss. 2, 45, 47, 100; Rev. 1, 4, 5, 14; etc.) are to train our minds to think in terms of Christ exalted, our affections to desire this glorious King, our values to lodge in Him and His Kingdom, and our actions to reflect His reign coming on earth, as it is in heaven.
To put it mildly, American Christians are not much given to contemplation. Yet we are called to it, even commanded to set our minds on the things that are above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3) and to gear our hearts to penetrate that unseen realm and know the power of it (Eph. 1.15-23). Contemplation takes time and effort; it is a discipline to be learned, cherished, and practiced daily until the focus of our contemplations in quiet becomes the presence in which we live and move and have our being through the course of our day.
Practice the presence of Jesus - Him with you where you are, but also, you with Him where He is. You'll know you're getting there when the weight of His glory fairly crushes you with joy and transforming power.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? This is the focus of today's ReVision. Are God's thoughts precious to you?
Pastor, how is your work of evangelism going? Is your church faithful to the "go/tell" mandate of the Lord, or have you settled into a "come/see" relationship with your community - in which very few are coming to see? You can change your church's attitude toward evangelism, but it has to begin with you. We can help. Why not consider signing up for a mentoring relationship in evangelism, and get the training, resources, and help you'll need to enlist your entire congregation for witness to our King? Write to me today and we'll set up a time to talk about this exciting training opportunity.
Don't forget to visit our bookstore and to read the blogs or listen to the sermons of our Members when you visit www.ailbe.org. And if this ministry is helpful to you, forward today's Crosfigell to a friend and urge him to sign up.
Finally, we've had some excellent suggestions for our Campaign for Christian Literacy, and there's still time for you to offer yours. Send them to me right away.
Even a string of unrelated thoughts can lead to praise.
Moses was the first to be entrusted with divine revelation, but not the last.
The day of the Lord, most righteous King of Kings, is at hand: a day of anger and vidication, of darkness and of cloud, a day of wonderful mighty thunders, a day also of distress, of sorrow and sadness, in which the love and desire of women will cease and the striving of men and the desire of this world.
- Columba, Altus prosator (Irish, 6th century)
"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done."
- Revelation 22.12
Celtic Christians like Columba, founder of the monastery on Iona, lived with a view to the last day. They agreed with Peter that the end of all things and the final judgment should inform our conduct in the present, leading us to seek holiness in the fear of God (2 Pet. 3.11-14). They embraced the Law's command both to love God and to fear Him, (Deut. 10.12, 13), for they understood it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10.30, 31).
Men like Columba never lost sight of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. They believed Him when He said He was coming soon, and they strove to make sure, to the best of their ability, that they would be found of Him busy at the work of His Kingdom and free of the dalliances of the world and the flesh. At the same time, they knew themselves to be sinners and hoped in the mercy and grace of the Lord, not in their own works.
Their vision of what was to come shaped their lives and guided their labors in the present. Jesus was coming soon, they knew, and there was still so much work to be done. A clear and compelling vision of the end of all things need not be a matter of doom and dread. Instead, it can motivate us, in fear and love, to acts of devotion, works of service, and celebrations of worshipful anticipation that can shape our lives for holiness and ministry.
But gaining such a vision doesn't come easy. We have to search the Scriptures, consider the writings of those for whom such vision was clear and compelling (like Columba), and encourage one another with the hope of the Lord's soon return and certain mercy (1 Thess. 5.9-11). But if we live each day in the hope of Christ's soon return - and the knowledge that we must all stand before Him - the days of our lives will be more fruitful for the King and His Kingdom.
Jesus is coming soon. Are you preparing for Him?
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Is it possible that Christians are not living up to the world's expectations? That is, do they see Christ in us who bear His Name? Check out today's ReVision.
Our mentoring programs offer pastors an excellent opportunity to refocus their spiritual lives and sharpen their ministry skills. It's not too late to sign up for a program tailored to your needs. If you're looking for a way to jumpstart your ministry of writing, or to gain a quick and comprehensive overview of the Christian worldview, our online training may be just the thing. Don't forget to visit our Member blogs and to interact with the brethren as they share their thoughts and insights about the life of faith. And visit the bookstore while you're at the website, www.ailbe.org.
People have a right to expect that those who bear the name of Christ will resemble Him.