Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Short devotion - Presbyterian Patches - Luke 5:36
Luke 5:36 Jesus told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.”
I love being a Presbyterian because of the deep roots and time honored traditions in the Presbyterian Church. It appeals to my Scottish way of thinking and embraces my need for a Reformed Celtic Christianity. I admire the heroes of the past who devoted their lives to ensuring that the Presbyterian faith would blossom and grow in Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States, and all over the world.
I love Presbyterian missionary zeal which was built upon the great ministries of people like Mungo Park, David Livingstone, and Mary Slessor. I read their biographical histories and I connect with their fiery faith and courageous confrontation of the communities they served.
I love Presbyterian thinking and its commitment to social justice. When I look back across the centuries, I see the dedication of the Covenanters, American revolutionaries, Advocates of the Poor, and Civil Rights marchers who changed the industrial revolution and shaped the modern world.
In the midst of all these movements, revolutions, and issues, a Christ-centered Presbyterian Christian faith was at the heart of them. People protested because Jesus advocated justice. Presbyterians rallied to reform because Christ redeemed the world. The Church challenged the world to change its ways so that more people could turn to Christ and be saved. Faith was revived; society was reformed; and the Church glorified Christ above all things.
Because I love being a Presbyterian and because I love all things Presbyterian, I am sad that we appear to have taken the wrong turn and are going down a path which may rend, tear apart, and divide the church into many pieces. New patches of post-modernism seem to be ripping apart the faith fabric of Protestant Presbyterianism. Instead of growing in Christ by doing what God wants, we’re giving the world what it wants, and surrendering who we are as Reformed Presbyterians. The new patches are creating a larger hole in the churches and congregations across the land; unless we do something soon, we may see the end of Reformed Christianity this century.
It takes courage to confront the waywardness of society and to challenge the characteristics of a civilization that is spinning out of control. But then again, that’s when Presbyterians in the past have boldly stepped up to the plate and revived the Church. Maybe it’s time to do the same again in order to not just repair the godly garment that has been ripped apart, but to restore it to the glorious goodness of God, the candid constancy of Christ, and the uncompromising honesty of the Holy Spirit.
Questions for personal reflection
Is the post-modern Church headed in the right direction? How can we ensure that we are following Christ’s path and not our own way?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have watched the path of the Church since its very beginning. You know the outcome of the paths that we are presently following. Grant us the gift of discernment in order to recognize Your Way of Truth and Life that we should be journeying on. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest chess pop art drawings called ‘Three’s a Crowd.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7279/7586308216_7d7d189ebc_b.jpg