DayBreaks for 8/31/17 – The Sinner’s Feast

DayBreaks for 8/31/17: The Sinner’s Feast

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/2007:

One of my favorite pictures of Scripture is the feast scene that gets brief mention in Revelation, and in a few other books of the NT.  Let’s face it: we love to eat, don’t we?  And we love to have a great time, right?  What can be more exciting and fun than a festive dinner with all the trimmings, all your best friends gathered round, laughter, music…and you don’t have to either pay for it or clean up the mess afterwards?  In about 2 months, our daughter will be getting married – and I look forward to the dinner after the wedding.  What a joy it will be!!!

We might think of the feasts described in heaven as the Christian’s feast…a feast that will be designed, catered (and served, according to Scripture!) by Christ Himself.  I am sure that there never has been, nor will there ever be, any celebration greater than that of the marriage supper of the Lamb of God with His bride, the church.  By God’s grace, I look forward to being there to enjoy it!  No, it wouldn’t be wrong to think of that home-coming/marriage feast as the Christian’s feast.  But there’s another feast that perhaps more properly is the Christian feast – in his sermon “The Sinner’s Feast,” Lee Eclov describes what should be the celebrative side of Communion in the context of worship:

“This table is different. This table of the Lord isn’t where sinners find Christ but where sinners celebrate being found …

“Maybe some morning, instead of solemnly passing these trays, we should dance for joy.  Maybe we should sing every born-again song we know.  Maybe we should tell our “homecoming” stories and laugh like people who no longer fear death.  Maybe we should ask if anyone wants seconds and hold our little cups high to toast lost sisters found and dead brothers alive.”

Have you ever laughed like you didn’t fear death?  I don’t know that I have.  But I should.  Every Sunday at the Lord’s table, I should.  After all, I’m one of those dead brothers who have been found alive.

PRAYER: Hallelujah, Lord God!  What kind of God are You that can take dead men and women and bring us to life again?  May we laugh in Your very Presence as those who no longer fear death because of what Jesus has done!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 11/30/16 – The Greatest Reunion in History

 

DayBreaks for 11/30/16 – The Greatest Reunion in History

Luke 23:50-56 describes some activities that went on after Jesus expired on the cross.  It is the story of Joseph of Arimathea who went to Pilate and requested permission to take the body of Jesus and bury him in his own tomb.  The story is told much as a journalist would report on any activity on a normal day.  Luke has a way of lulling us to a comfortable spot only to make us jump awake again.  But not in this instance.  Jesus was in the tomb – the hero of the story has been taken out of the picture for the time being.

As I pondered this passage, I found myself asking, “Where was Jesus when this was going on?  What was he doing? Is this when he descended into hades to preach to the dead? Was he in the Father’s Presence (“This day you shall be with me in paradise….”)? We can speculate, but we don’t know for sure.

But if we are to understand his words to the thief on the cross as I believe Jesus intended for us to understand them, I think he was in Paradise, and I found myself wondering what that reunion was like? Can you picture the reunion between the Father and Son and Spirit as they hugged in joyful reunion? Were there tears? What words were spoken between them? What must the song of the angels have been like at Jesus’ homecoming? (Not just now, but after the ascension, too!) We have no answers to these questions because ultimately, they are irrelevant. Our curiosity can distract us from what is important: Jesus’ substitutionary death, vicarious, bloody, sacrificial. Jesus (God) died. Nietizsche was right – but he just had the timing all wrong.  And he didn’t anticipate the events of the following Sunday.

PRAYER: Father, how You must have delighted to greet Your Son after His sacrifice and work was completed! I believe Your joy wasn’t just for Him, but also for us being able to be freed and cleansed from our sin! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 7/09/15 – Tried and Found Difficult

DayBreaks for 7/09/15: Tried and Found Difficult

It wasn’t an easy thing to put people on the moon. It takes herculean effort to reach the pinnacle of Mt. Everest.  Those are exceptional things – achievements that very few people who walk this earth have, or will, every accomplish.

Somehow, part of the glory of such things is the difficulty involved – the sheer magnitude of the effort involved and the overcoming of daunting challenges along the way. It is only when one has stepped onto the lunar soil or the peak of Everest that the sheer wonder and joy of the achievement can be fully relished. Sure, one can anticipate what it would feel like, but no one can truly imagine it. Yet, I’ve never heard of one lunar explorer or Everest conqueror say it wasn’t worth it.

When we attempt to live a life worthy of the Gospel it is because our understanding of “worth” is far different from that of the world. John the Baptist was not beheaded because he chose the easy path. John gave his life because of his commitment to what he understood to be worth the cost, much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his struggles with Nazism and Hitler. Being a pastor in the German Lutheran Church, Bonhoeffer was forced to choose between the worth of loyalty to God or to an insane ruler. He was executed in 1945 for the opposition he voiced to the satanic rule of Hitler.

As G.K. Chesterton so concisely wrote: “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but tried and found difficult.” Life has many roads to travel. However, to be a Christian, we must choose the road on which the shadow of the cross falls. It always leads to freedom, joy and celebration when the final lap of the race has been run and the goal reached. Some 2000 years later, we speak of the reigns of the Herods and Caesars with pity and disdain, but the names of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ live on as those for whom life was lived with devotion and courage.

PRAYER: Give us the confidence, Lord, that the journey we have undertaken is truly worth the cost and that in the end, we shall stand in glorious celebration! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/04/12 – Let the Wedding Revel Begin!

DayBreaks for 12/04/12 – Let the Wedding Revel Begin

Wedding-Dance-2

Luke 5:33-39 (NLT) One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”
34 Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Advent is upon us.  Advent is about the coming of Christ.  In particular, we celebrate His coming as the Christ-child in Bethlehem during this season.  It also points us to the Second Advent – His return in glory to deliver His people and to judge the world.

The ancient Jews had waited for the Advent for a couple thousand years.  Perhaps that is why so many of their songs were melancholy.  They awaited deliverance.  They awaited the anticipated joy of the arrival of the Messiah.

In today’s text, Jesus was confronted because of the joy of his disciples.  If we were to put it in modern vernacular, we might say that the people were upset because his disciples were to raucous, too joyful.  Why is it that people have the impression that religious folk are supposed to be sour-pusses?  How did they get that impression?  I can only think that it is because of one thing: we tend to be sour-pusses.

Jesus’ disciples didn’t see it that way.  I don’t for one second believe that as his disciples reveled and celebrated with significant abandon that Jesus was sitting on a stool in a dark corner of the room with a frown and scowl on his face.  I believe if he’d been doing that, his disciples would have imitated him.  That’s what followers of rabbis did – imitate their master to learn to be like him.  So, what can we conclude?  I believe Jesus was a great “celebrater”!!!!

I wonder how much the expression of our relationship with Jesus resembles revelers at a wedding?  I suspect that it is more like the second part of Jesus’ statement: it seems as if we have gone into fasting, as if Jesus is not here.  What would we look like if we were riotously joyful?  How would the world’s perception of us change?  We are so busy being strict and looking for evil to condemn that we forget we have great reason to celebrate!!!!

Of course, we live with a strange dichotomy: Jesus is with is (Immanuel, “I will never leave you or forsake you”, etc.), yet we await His return (“I will come again and receive you unto myself”).  So, we should be characterized as people of incredible joy and also those with a great anticipation for His return.

There comes a time when it is necessary to do a new thing (new wineskins and new wine).  The old will no longer suffice.  It often takes great courage to do something new.  It stretches us, we find ourselves in unfamiliar confines, but as we grow and expand, we become more of the people that God created us to be and longs to see us become. This month, and then this year, let’s all try to be people of celebration!

PRAYER:  Let us revel in the great joy of belonging to you, Jesus! In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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