Each Monday brings with it a fresh week of preparation for the Sunday morning service that is fast approaching. The muscles of my mind begin again to flex over a text, from which I must wrench its meaning that God intends for his people.
Each text of Holy Scripture must be applied to the context of a being-made-holy people.
My self-assigned task at the beginning of each new year is to explore the meaning, need, and practice of prayer. Conversations with our heavenly Father.
The context? As Richard Cohen observes,
We the injured are everywhere.
Or, as the Westminster Larger Catechism teaches,
Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
Into the estate of sin and misery...blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of heart, horror of conscience, vile affections...[including] all the evils that befall us in bodies, names, estates, relations and employments, together with death itself.
Such as these, in various degrees, press into every 'ordinary' day of the lives of every frail human being I know.
The text? From Jesus,
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:25b-33, English Standard Version)
We live in a world, in the words of Zack Eswine, of "inconsolable things." But Jesus declares he has done something about that. Furthermore, that talking to our Father in his Name will open a door to the help that we need in the midst of (and not necessarily delivered from) such inconsolables. In other words, we will not make it without prayer.
Do you see it?
More on Sunday...