|HOMILY FOR FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI
I thought of calling this talk “Not for beginners!” What I am going to be speaking about is the real stuff, the strong meat, and not the milk that Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:2 and the writer of Hebrews in chapter 5:11-6:3 says is only for those who are babes in Christ. Hebrews 5:14: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
I have spoken in the past about this call to maturity, saying that it is one of the phases we must pass through before we are ready for revival. Lately, I have been speaking about God’s concern with us being not to build big churches, but BIG PEOPLE: by which I mean mature people, men and women of strong faith and godly character, who practice PEP in their lives over and over again (remember PEP? Perseverance, Endurance, Patience), who do not give up when the going gets tough, but get going on their knees, in prayer.
In a word, men and women who are ready to be (produce sword) SOLDIERS FOR CHRIST Those who were here for Brendan and Declan’s confirmation on Pentecost Sunday will remember me talking about their confirmation making them soldiers for Christ. It is a theme we have dropped quietly in our politically correct day, as we don’t like the association with modern images of war and all its atrocity. But if we are to be true Christians, who live their lives based on the Bible, (which we call, remember, “The sword of the Spirit”) then we have to deal with the fact that the bible talks an awful lot about warfare and being soldiers for Christ. Take Ephesians 6: 10-18. Or 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.” The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (are you taking every one of your thoughts captive so as to make it obedient to Christ, or just allowing your imagination to wander into all kinds of unhealthy paths?) It is not by chance that Paul will go on to say in verse 7 “Don’t look only on the surface of things.”
It is time, brothers and sisters, to go beyond the surface things of faith, of our Christian lives, and start to press in further, to go deeper into the ways of God.
It is time, brothers and sisters, to go beyond the surface things of faith, of our Christian lives, and start to press in further, to go deeper into the ways of God. This is the path to true Christian maturity. We started last Thursday with Joe’s great teaching about how to live and walk by the Spirit of God, and we will be pursuing this theme over the summer. Because God doesn’t want us to remain infants, babes in Christ, sweet when only a couple of months old, but something wrong and unhealthy if still wearing diapers at the age of 30 or 40 or 50, don’t you agree?
We have already started to be prepared for this. When a guest came to Lift Jesus Higher a few weeks ago, he spoke about the need to transition from being a hospital to an army. I am going to quote from his prophetic bulletin “Heartbeat,” where he writes: “In 2006 I believe we are going to see possibly one of the greatest transitions in the spiritual history of the church of Canada. It is the birthing of an army. The church of Canada is transitioning from being a hospital filled with patients to being a military base that trains soldiers who advance into the kingdom of our God.” And I believe that word nails us, nails exactly what God is wanting to do with us, here at Lift Jesus Higher, here and now. I tell you, brothers and sisters, it is wonderful to know we are part of something bigger, much much bigger than us. Part of genuine spiritual maturity is being able to move from just looking at our individual personal story, and where God fits into it, to looking at the bigger story, the story of God and his plans for the universe and asking where do I, where do we fit into it?
It is o.k. and necessary at times to be in hospital, of course, but there is something seriously wrong to want to be in hospital all the time, having someone look after you, tend to your wounds, see to all your needs, while you remain the passive accepter of their ministries. Just as it is fine to be a baby at the first part of your lives, but there is something seriously wrong and disordered in wanting to be a baby all of your life and have someone else take care of all your needs, and take all the responsibility for running your life. There are times, brothers and sisters, in the spiritual life, when we take serious hits from the enemy, Satan, and we need to step back and withdraw from the front-lines and receive treatment. There are times when it is good and necessary to recall that we are children of God and take time to just relax in his arms, or his lap, and allow him to speak his tender fatherly words of love and healing into us. I love the times of quiet worship we have here, I enjoy soaking times with the Lord, personally and corporately. The sweet presence of the Lord at those times is indeed glorious.
But we cannot always stay in that place. There is a war going on, as Paul tells us in Ephesians and we are inevitably caught up in it, no way to avoid it, no way to claim to be neutral and hope it passes over us. We are in a battle for the lives of our children, our marriages, our nation, our universe, and if we insist on staying in an infant or hospital mentality, saying “Feed me, change me, heal me, look after me” we will not be winning, and those around us who are desperately fighting and need our help won’t be capable of winning it either.
Fr. Bob Poole