Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Practice

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,  but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 9:23-24

This is a cross-reference from First Corinthians, but what struck me is where the Lord is said to practice His love, justice, and righteousness:   in the earth.   

It is notable that He practices, which to me means something like a doctor practicing medicine or a lawyer practicing law – jokes about those things aside.  Love and justice and righteousness are part of who God is as well as what He does.  We are here because of that.  Earth, all of material existence in the universe, is here that God might interact with us in expressing such.  All that exists in creation is exists because of God’s love and goodness.  

Heaven, in its full, everlasting conformity to all that God wills cannot be perfected; it is perfect.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is [always and everywhere and forever] done in heaven.  Earth is the borderland, the place where order and perfection are drawn out of chaos as the Spirit hovers over the roiling potentials of the deep.   

We come to understand that God did not only initiate creation out of His divine character and person, but He works in it now, first, because it is always now to the Eternal One.  He is creating, sustaining, and revealing.  Most often -- I tend to think, His practices are not so obviously and overtly miraculous.  The Lord works by His Spirit dwelling in believers; He works in and through us.  As my friend used to say, God doesn’t rain twenty dollar bills down from heaven because He is not a counterfeiter.  The coin Peter found in the mouth of a fish had been dropped or lost by someone.   Jesus could have turned stones into bread, but what He did was take a little bread offered and multiple it to meet the need.

Through prayer and faith in communion with our Father, we can experience His steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in our lives.  God is delighted when He sees us offering these blessings to others, multiplying the bread of life out here on the frontiers of the kingdom. 


Rick said...

Oh where did I read it or hear it except everywhere by the atheist or so-called non-believer: "If there is a God, why didn't he stop fill-in-the-blank-horrible-event?" And I try to picture what that would look like using the mind of this person satisfied I can only guess by seeing a giant hand descending from a cloud and in the nick of time stopping the Nazi war machine. What would we do after that?
I think we would do even worse things.

mushroom said...

Wow, what a question. What would we try if we knew God would always intervene?

I hate to confess this, but I have thought that, having "gotten away" with something less than righteous, that maybe it was OK with God. So it's not much of a step to think that because God never seems to intervene -- by our atheist's definition of intervention, He must not care, and if He doesn't care about evil, He probably doesn't exist.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This explains why it is such a joy to be a blessing to others in whatever compacity: prayer, friendship, or helping in a myriad of ways.

I believe the joy we feel when we do that is sparked by God's joy through His Spirit through us.
As above, so below.

Occasionally, I don't feel joy helping others but I soon realize it's because I have become too cynical and have neglected to be thankfull for the blessings He has bestowed upon me.

So a thankful heart is a primary element of joy, and directly linked to it, the way I see it.

mushroom said...

That's a good word, Ben.