The whole quarantine thing, has allowed humanity to take a good look at the “Self.” Or so we would like to think. The “self” or what Swiss psychologist Paul Tournier calls the persona is the character we display when no one is watching, it is our deepest part of our humanity, who we really are. The persona conveys what we are made of which in turn, will determine how we react to what life throws at us. Well, life has without a doubt thrown us a curve ball.
C. S. Lewis will be remembered for many incredible stories and books. Born in Ireland he would find faith in 1931. World War II would be a curve ball for his generation, yet this never phased him. He wrote children’s books and assisted with the writing of Tolkien and delivered radio messages to share the love of Christ he had found. Out of the radio conversations he wrote, Mere Christianity.
In this book, Lewis asks, “How much of Myself must I give?
The ordinary idea which we all have before we become Christians is this. We take as the starting point our ordinary self with its various desires and interests. We then admit that something else call it “morality” or decent behavior” – has claims on the self: claims which interfere with its own desires. What we mean by “being good” is giving in to those claims. Some of the things the ordinary self-wanted to do we would now call wrong; these things we give up. While on the other hand, the things which are now right, we must do.
But we are hoping all the while that when all the demands are met, the poor natural self will still have enough of who we thought we were to be the person we liked when we remember happiness, joy, that summer time of our life phase. It’s almost like paying taxes, we know me must, so we do, we just hope at the end of the day we have something left over for ourselves. We are still hanging on to the natural self, not the new spiritual self. Which is normal and human.
One of two things will happen. Either you will live completely through your conscience and meet all the demands of the spiritual self and never have enough left over to keep your self afloat. You will give and give and give, obeying the voice inside that pushes onward. Your natural self will be come starved and the spiritual side will become exhausted. Starved, worried, hampered the self becomes bitter. We hear the words of Jesus talking about the four soils and our hearts. The Heart that is hard is angry, the heart that is impulsive withers, the heart that is anxious is choked, but that heart that is receptive blossoms and bares fruit.
Listen to the voice of Jesus. It comes every waking morning when all the hopes and desires rush at us like a tidal wave. And the first thing to do is listen and hear as we have been instructed to do. Push against the cares of the world, fight off the worries and anxieties of the news of the day, rest in the reality that Jesus is you Savior and Redeemer.
We can only do it for moments at first, but for those moments we are strengthened and empowered. We are made strong because we have let him in and shut out the world. He is sitting at our table within our home (oikos). Jesus is at home within our lives and both the Spiritual and he Natural can sit with him in peace for today and hope for tomorrow. God became man for no other purpose, than to be gathered together with him. in His home. He built it for us. we must protect it.
Read Luke:14: 25-33
I woke up early this morning to the boiler concerto, whenever it dings; I wake up thinking I have won some grand prize. It was about 0530, time to get up anyways. So, I turned to Mark chapter 6 verse fourteen which begins the story of Herod and his stepdaughter and the execution of John the Baptist. What an awful story it is. Talk about a terrible father figure and a menacing ruler.
Herod was a diabolical monster who ruled Palestine with an iron fist. From the time the wise men came seeking Jesus to his own death, where he killed leaders in the streets just to ensure mourning took place, he was determined to destroy anyone who stood in his way, even children. He has a senseless envyfor authority for those who may have claim to his throne. He killed priests, noble, members of the Sanhedrin, even his own sons and relatives died at his command. Josephus, the historian, writes it all down in great detail. How sons and daughters are condemned to death for plotting against him and before he dies of stomach worms, he sentences them to death. Most of this happens after Jesus’ passion and resurrection.
Mark chapter 6, finds Herod battling ghosts from his past. Herod believes that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, has been raised from the dead. Verse 20 says that Herod feared John. So, why did he not fear Jesus? If he was so interested in what Jesus had been doing, he obviously had heard the stories, why did he not revere the Christ whom he had learned about from an early age? My guess is that he had not learned enough about who the Messiah was as a child and thus the idea of “The Christ for his life” had never become part of his spiritual moral character. I suppose, the harsh reality is many in our own day and age were not introduced to Jesus early enough as children to develop that sense of who Jesus is in their own lives.
I wonder! Did Mary share with Jesus what Herod had done when he was born? How would the Son of Man grow up with such a heavy weight upon him? They answer comes in the next three chapters, where Jesus shares his love for children. It’s evident in the lesson after the disciples argue over who is the greatest. Jesus said: If you think your first, you will be last and a servant to all. Then he took a child and placed them in the center of everyone and lifted them up and said again, “Whoever will receive a child in my name receives me and, whoever receives me, received not me but the one who sent me.” (v.37) Then again, in the tenth chapter where moms are bringing the kids to be blessed by Jesus and the disciples seem to have a problem with it, as they did with blind Bartimaeus. Again, Jesus gets persnickety (my grandmothers term) and says to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” And he blessed them with his hands.
This outpouring of love was for the children that would carry on the story in their hearts that they were blessed by Jesus. As we make our way to the cross this next week on Palm Sunday, think of your own faith as that of a child, a child of God. Come to Jesus and receive the same blessing. Bring your children and grandchildren to the lap of Jesus and allow him to bless them and yourself. Oh, ok, 6 feet apart if you must. The point is, as Easter draws near, Jesus makes his way to the Cross and children were his top priority. Let them be ours as well. Peace be with you all this Sabbath.
P. COBB <><
Pat’s Wednesday Weekly Devo:
Ephesians 2: 4-6
4 ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Well, its Wednesday and this will be a part of my new normal. I pledge to sit and write a devotional on Wednesday, hopefully before lunch. I am more used to reading my “devos” with my first cup. Now I sit and contemplate what God is doing in our world and in the life of Montesano Presbyterian Church.
With all the media’s coverage of COVID-19, I have become resistant to watching or listening to the news. It frustrates me, scares me, and creates an anxiety that doesn’t make a lot of sense. After all, I seem pretty healthy, I take good care of myself and those I am entrusted to care for; washing hands, keeping social distance and not going where I don’t need to go. On top of that folks I talk to seem pretty darn upbeat with all that is going on.
Nevertheless, the Governor flipped the switch to shut it all down and made staying home mandatory. So, due to some deadlines, I made the trip to JBLM Joint Base Lewis-McCord and reported into my Reserve Unit. Being active duty, I thought that was a proactive, responsible thing to do. Much to my surprise, they too were preparing for worst-case scenarios. One being that I will be called up to tend to field hospitals for individuals infected. This was just one more notch in my belt of anxious thoughts and worries. So, I drove back to Monte in silence thinking about all I need to do.
This morning Ephesians 2 was my reading and the words of Paul reminded me that amidst this crisis our world and community faces, “I am alive with Christ – by grace.”
I have never felt more alive than I do today. I have spent quality time with my son, whom I love dearly, I have made it a strong point to tell my wife and kids how much I love them each and every day – over a very long wire. I have called my mom, dad, and sisters daily to check on them and let them know everything will be ok. The sun, when it shines, is brighter; the rain when it falls is sweeter and the chilly days and the green countryside are more beautiful than I can imagine. I am thankful for all my blessings. I am truly alive in Christ by grace.
This time of isolation is a time for all of us to spend with those we love, doing things that slow us down and make us better children of God. Love your neighbor as you love your own heart and share your heart with anyone you can. Dive into God’s Word with children and friends. Pray with a stranger, be a blessing to those who you do come into contact with, even if it’s just a honk and a wave through a window. Let your heavenly place be home and by grace through faith, we will see the sunrise on this, “Hitch in our giddy-up.”
Also, due to the serious nature of this virus, we will be holding a specials prayer service Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00PM. Feel free to call and inquire or stop in for prayer and scriptural readings.
Patrick Earle Cobb
Pastor Montesano Presbyterian Church
We have nursery care available for children Infant through Pre-K during worship
On Sunday Morning we offer Church School for children and youth of all ages, taught by a committed and enthusiastic team of teachers. Church School will be held during the 10:30a Worship service, a change from past years.
During Sunday morning Worship, we offer “Church for Kids” grades K-4th where children learn the Bible stories experientially through presentations, prayer, drama, readings, and crafts
On Tuesday nights from 6-8pm, we offer an AWANA Program for children ages Pre-K through 6th grade. The AWANA program is comprised of 4 components:
- Student Handbook time in which participants memorize/recite scripture
- Council time in which a Bible lesson is presented and applied to daily living
- Recreation time featuring team relays and physical activities
- Music time in which children learn songs and have a fun time of singing together
AWANA PROGRAM HAS RESUMED! COME AND JOIN THE FUN!