...and ready for the new year. To all my blogging friends (and my one or two occasional readers!), I want to say thanks for a wonderful 2009. I've been quite busy the past couple of months (as shown by my own lack of posting and lack of commenting on other blogs), but I'm excited about getting back into the swing of things in 2010. I don't think I'll be any less busy (I've added learning to ski on my list), but I plan on being more regular here and "out there" on the blogoshpere. I'm also planning on a small redesign of Sacred Space & All That Jazz (and greatgooglymoogly.net) and more variety of material...at least, that's what I'm planning.
As busy I had been late in the 2009 calendar year, I did manage to find some interesting blogs that have a subtle (yet profound) difference of opinion in the meaning and scope of the Gospel. By engaging in some good "conversation" with some of those from this different perspective, I've made some new blogging friends and have found that I'm currently undergoing my own paradigm shift as I continue my consideration of these things. My initial introduction with those from this new perspective was a bit rocky at first (and I can take most of the blame for that), but I've discovered that they share with me a desire to know and love the Lord. I also discovered that I've been saying very much the same things as they are but from a different (and incompatible) vantage point. I look forward to continuing my investigation and enjoying more edifying correspondence in this direction.
In the meantime, here's a little something to start the new year.
As I look back on the past few years of ministry as "worship leader" (a term that I'm not crazy about, as I've said before here), I thought I'd reformulate a selection of some of my Sunday notes (what I typically call "blurbs") into short posts. I hope these can be not only informative but also encouraging and edifying (as much as short, little "blurbs" can be).
Back in 2006 we had a sermon series on the book of Esther. My last "blurb" went something like this:
We've come to the end of the book of Esther, but certainly not to the end of the Story. And that's because, as throughout the whole Bible, the Story is and continues to be God's Great Faithfulness in the Person and Work of Christ: the Story of Redemption! The Story is about Him! From the beginning of Creation (really, from before the Creation), the Scripture has been telling this Story. The Story is about who Christ is and what He came to (and did!) accomplish in His incarnation. Esther is another "mini-story" within the larger story that paints this portrait of the Person and Work of Christ.
Though the events of Esther are so far removed from us historically, we can relate very much to the Jews of this period because we also participate in the Story. The written word of the Scripture is complete, but God is not finished working. We still participate in redemptive history as He continues to show His faithfulness to His people and as He continues to call human beings to enter His Kingdom. The events of Esther aren't so far removed from us as we may think.
I believe that the main point of the book of Esther is God and His faithfulness. And I would go so far as to say that their experience of God and His faithfulness not only mirrors our own but actually anticipates (foreshadows or prefigures) our own experience.
* They experienced the faithfulness of God in the context of His promise of a Seed who was yet to come. We too experience the faithfulness of God in the context of His promise of a Seed who has come.
* They were helpless, hopeless and weak and seemingly forsaken by God because of their sin and rebellion. They were not only living in captivity, but they were destined to die by the hands of their enemies. Yet, they experienced the grace of God (according to promise). They witnessed God not only deliver them from the hand of their enemies but also give them a great victory so that their enemies were "no more". Likewise, we too are witnesses of God's faithfulness as He has delivered us out of the bondage of our enemies--sin and death! While we also were helpless and hopeless, even "enemies of God" destined to remain dead in our trespasses and sins, God graciously granted us repentance and by the power of the Gospel He has granted us Life and Victory in Jesus. By God's faithfulness, we have also been delivered--our enemeis are "no more".
* They witnessed God's faithfulness and victory--but with their eyes. Our witness is stronger and made more sure because God has given us His Spirit who continually testifies to our hearts concerning His Great Faithfulness and Deliverance in and through Jesus Christ!
* And as they regularly celebrate this great story of God's faithfulness in the festival of Purim, we regularly celebrate the Story of God's faithfulness in partaking of the Body and Blood of our Lord at His Table.
So as we can see, their experience is not altogether unlike our own. And He has left us plenty of witness and testimony in the Scripture that He is the ever Holy, Sovereign, Powerful and Faithful "Father" who by His grace call us His Children in the Beloved! Amen!