My roommate from seminary, Pastor Grady Williams, once illustrated a powerful truth…one that we can all benefit from by letting it sink into our troubled minds. We were at a restaurant and discussing something to do with one of our classes. We were discussing the verse which begins, “That which can be shaken will be shaken…”
It was 50 years ago. I had just made the rounds of the graduation parties and was about to step off into the world. I had been appointed to the U.S Merchant Marine Academy, and had orders to report to Kings Point, Long Island for my Plebe summer. The week I was to report the unthinkable happened. My father died.
In I Kings 18, The Bible records an incident that has profound implications for our day. The prophet Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal. Here is the indictment against the false prophets (and by guilt of association…) the people of God. They had chosen to follow the Baals. Prior to such apostasy three other things had taken place;
The nun turned her back on the class ( we were still not safe from scrutiny…we all knew she also had eyes in the back of her head…) Jimmy Cummings could make these strange voices and sounds and get us giggling…and then when the good sister turned around to find the culprit…Jimmy could instantly take on the countenance of a cherub and someone else would be blamed. His unique ability served him well. He is now Voice Actor Jim Cummings…the voice of Winnie the Pooh!
With all the talk of tax cuts and the ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas…’ and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ barrage, I had a moment of insight today. The airwaves are rife with talk of student loan debt confiscatory taxes, political intrigue, back door deals…and the beat goes on… and, in the midst of it all… Christmas. Think with me for a moment about the first Christmas. Joseph, an ordinary man, by most accounts no one special, has been dealing with the fact that there is a rumor of scandal surrounding his young bride.
Salvation by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross alone was subverted to faith in the intermediaries’ dogma and traditions of men. This is a deeply personal issue for me. I was raised Catholic, and did my best to adhere to the teachings and the authority of the church. In the midst of a tumultuous time in my life…my second year of University. I experienced something that changed me forever. Some background and context is in order…