VITAL STATISTICS: October has seen several new records for this blog:
- 18,817 views for the month,
- 5,840 signed up followers (to date),
- as of October 2 – the 2015 visitor count has already eclipsed that of 2014.
SUNDAY ROCKS: Sunday is always a good day around Maul-Hall, and this weekend was no exception. I especially enjoyed sharing communion with my brothers and sisters at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. “All-Saints Day” celebrates the connection we have with everyone in that “Great Cloud of Witnesses – not only the people I sit with in church, and the friends we love so well in other communities, but also those who have passed on, those I barely remember, and even those who lived and died before I was even born.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-3
Rebekah preached about the way that Jesus challenges us, and the way Jesus constantly questions our tendency to pledge our allegiance to the status quo rather than the good news of the gospel. Jesus’ life wasn’t at risk because of his goodness, his life was threatened because he recognized the inadequacy of the law, and because he steamrolled right through tradition, through “the way thing are,” and through “procedures,” opening up a channel directly to the heart of God.
The point of the Jewish religious code was to create conditions where redemption was possible; but – instead – the law became an end in itself. So Jesus proposed – and became – the “New and Living Way.” This is why we now have the confidence to enter the very presence of God! It’s because of the grace, mercy, and sacrifice of Jesus, “by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh).” – Hebrews 10:20.
HIGH AND DEEP: I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I was sitting with our great friends the Chipmans while Rebekah was preaching. Dana Chipman (retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army) recently served as the Judge Advocate General, and is singularly qualified when it comes to understanding legal code. But you could pile laws, rules, codes, and regulations as high and as deep and as wide as the Pentagon itself, and then comply with every possible interpretation, but never come close to opening up the channel to the heart of God Jesus offers us through trusting in his mercy and love.
So we shared communion together – the bread and the wine; and then we did it again at our home – with croissants and ice-tea. And we experienced not only the communion of that Great Cloud of Witnesses, but the beauty of walking in The New and Living Way, passing the peace with people we love, and standing as witnesses to the beauty and the amazing reach (unhindered by our codes and narrow doctrines) of the Gospel of Love.