The Lovely Scripture and Its
By Bob Slosser
- A good number of liturgical churches in America presumably are still
in the period called Epiphany in the Episcopal church calendar. Admittedly a
slow poke myself, Im also still a tad preoccupied with things growing out of
the Christmas season. Dont laugh. This time called Christmas is very important
to me. After all, where would we be if there had been no birth of Christ? Without
the Nativity there would be some very noticeable gaps in the Western world.
I think wed all notice it.
Seriously, have you ever thought of what the entire world would be like if
Jesus had not been born? Just think: no mention of Christ throughout history.
Some very interesting stories have been written on this theme, I guess. There
may have been some big-time writings about it, but that was some while ago,
I think. Something about waking up and finding that everything with the name
Christ in it or in any way related to it has vanished.
If someone the worlds courts could remove all traces, visible and invisible,
of Christ from everything throughout existence, life would be very diminished,
Id say. Most of us are still paying for Christmas and will be for awhile.
One thing about the real Christmas is that its all free. No bills, no big
expense. Just take it. If it werent for anything else and it is, hallelujah!
-- Id still be celebrating it.
But (quit digressing, old man) . . .what if, somehow, some way, someone should
remove every trace of Christ and Christians overnight? (1) There would be
no Christian music of any kind, written or recorded: hymns and related church
music, classical, contemporary, jazz, opera, operetta. (2) There would be
no historic Christian cathedrals and other architectural phenomena, of which
there are scores of great renown, especially in Europe. (3) There would be
much less great painting, sculpture and architecture. (4) There would be much
less of every sort of great literature and, thus, film, video, and theater
writing achievement. (5) There would be fewer great academic institutions
and thus less significant and world-changing medical and philosophical research
and other developments. The list could go on forever.
I said all this to help explain why Im still talking today about the birth
of Christ and about a short sentence actually found in my churchs liturgical
readings at the end of Advent this year. In Matthew 1:21 it says, "He
will save His people from their sins" short and sweet, very sweet.
It reassures us about precious Israel. What a powerful reason for discussion.
Salvation was coming. But to whom? To "His people." My favorite
Bible commentators good ol Jamieson, Fausett, and Brown say the phrase
included "the lost sheep of the house of Israel, in the first instance;
for they were the only people He then had" at the time the angel spoke
in a dream to Joseph about Marys pregnancy. But after Calvary and the Cross,
"on the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, the saved people
embraced the redeemed unto God by His blood out of every kindred and people
and tongue and nation in the most comprehensive sense of salvation from sin."
Yes, beloved, Jesus came for and suffered for Israel, but, as promised, He
fulfilled John 3:16. He frees us from the wrath to come and delivers us to
heaven. But there is much more. He frees us from the wrath of Satan at this
hour. Our ancient foe is defeated now! He can roar, and threaten, and intimidate,
but He cannot have us. He is defeated and dethroned now cast from heaven
just as Jesus reported, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven"
(Luke 10:18, NKJV).
I thank the Lord for the lovely Holy Scripture and its hope.
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