Friday, 7 December 2012

Relationship with the World (2)

It's a big subject, and I knew I'd stir up more.  I shall give some teaching this Sunday, as it's demonic December and the headlong flight into Xmas.  As a faithful pastor I must warn off any who will listen.  The perennial tragedy of folks on low incomes getting £1,000 or more in debt to "keep up with the neighbours" must be spoken against.  I find it even more distressing when the psychological pressure is put on through kids, because that failure of parental heart exposes - not shields - the next generation.

I heard yesterday of one group of our saints who have bread and soup for Xmas dinner as little reminder that it's absolutely possible to resist all the insanity.

My friend Brian was explaining how his church stages a carol service to invite in fringe people (parents of Sunday school kids, etc).  Then he admitted that his home group disintegrates in apathy, absences and distraction over Xmas, and it takes until mid-January to recover.

I spent a week in Trier, in the German Rhineland, during December many years back.  One afternoon's sight-seeing took in the famous Tierer Dom, the Catholic cathedral of St Peter.  It was bustling with visitors, disorientating with candle-lit side chapels, ornate, gaudy, and tacky, but somehow cordial and inviting.  Then we moved on to the old Protestant cathedral.  It was frigidly austere, with no internal decoration or embellishment (beyond a plain altar).  Stark uniform benches were set out in precise rows.  It boasts, if I correctly recall, the largest unsupported roof-span in Germany.  The only relief was the natural sunlight from the large windows.  The two seemed to embody contradictory world-views, how we sit with respect to our broad context.  I didn't really enjoy either: that was perhaps the significant challenge.

In preparation for this Sunday (we're back on the air with our recordings, again, now) I dug up some quotable stuff from Horatius Bonar.  I also acquainted myself with Augustine's City of God: 1,091 pages of further commendable study.  But we'll stick with Bonar.

Love Not The World — Why?
Because the gain of it is the loss of the soul — Matthew 16:25.
Because its friendship is enmity to God — James 4:4.
Because it did not know Christ — John 1:10; 17:25.
Because it hates Christ — John 7:7; 15:18.
Because the Holy Spirit has forbidden us — 1 John 2:15.
Because Christ did not pray for it — John 17:9.
Because Christ’s people do not belong to it — John 17:16.
Because it will not receive the Spirit — John 14:27.
Because its Prince is Satan — John 13:31; 16:11.
Because Christ’s kingdom is not of it — John 18:36.
Because its wisdom is foolishness — 1 Corinthians 1:20.
Because its wisdom is ignorance — 1 Corinthians 1:21.
Because Christ does not belong to it — John 8:23.
Because it is condemned — 1 Corinthians 11:32.
Because the fashion of it passeth away — 1 Corinthians 7:31 .
Because it slew Christ—James 5:6; Matthew 21:39.
Because it is crucified to us — Galatians 6:14.
Because we are crucified to it — Galatians 6:14.
Because it is the seat of wickedness — 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:19.
Because its God is the evil one — 2 Corinthians 4:4.

LOVE not the world!
What is there here to love?
That which is loveable is not of the earth;
Fix thou thine eyes above.

2. The face of time
Is never in one stay;
The beauty of this fascinating world
Endureth but a day.

3. Of things below
The best is but a lie;
The blossoms of the spring and childhood’s buds
Must fade, and fall, and die.

4. Be not deceived!
Through all this earthly air
A hellish poison pours its deadliness:
The plague of sin is there.

5. And who shall heal
Or disinfect the air?
Who disenchant it of the pleasant spell,
Or break the unseen snare?

6. Be not deceived!
Into each human vein
Sin penetrates, and we with opiates seek
To soothe the subtle pain.

7. It dims the eye;
It dulls the inner ear;
It dazzles, and it darkens, and it blinds,
It worketh pain and fear.

8. It worketh wrath,
And woe, and want, and doom;
It leads us darkly to the second death,
The everlasting tomb.

9. Love not the world,—
Its dreams, its songs, its lies;
They who have followed in its train are not
The true, and good, and wise.

10. The wise and good,
They choose the better part;
To the true world that is to come they give
The true and single heart.

11. Love not the world!
He in whose heart the love
Of vanity has found a place, shuts out
The enduring world above.

12. Love not the world!
However fair it seems;
Who loveth this fond world,- the love of God
Abideth not in him.

13. The heart of thine
For God, thy God was made;
Who love this God of love,- he lives;
Who loveth not, is dead.

14. Though this wide earth,
With all its love and gold,
Were his, yet still he liveth not whose heart
To God is sealed and cold.

15. Seek not the world!
‘Tis a vain show at best;
Bow not before its idol-shrine; in God
Find thou thy joy and rest.

16. A better world
We have who all forsake.
This promised land of holiness and love,
More fair than words can speak.

Horatius Bonar © Public Domain
Last verse: NCCC © 1986 Jesus Fellowship
Songs/CopyCare Ltd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ian. I must admit that although having lived faithfully in Christian Community for 12 years now, I still feel a giddiness in the air around me at this time of year. What can I do to keep free of the gorging and excess and childishness but still engage with friends who have not "come out of the world". Or with my dear old mum and Dad who like to do something nice together. (after all most community households have aspecial holiday walk together and sit round the fire afterwards)... how do we do it. I want to be free from the cloying, evil, lying, cheating, suicidal season without being pretentious. A good bath often helps....what do you say?