Monday, April 16, 2012

Youth hostel devotions

Devotions at Cambridge YHA

Last night as we headed off to bed a fellow from eastern Europe stood up and said, "Thank you for is. God bless America!" I don't know exactly what he meant but it certainly made me rack my brain about what I had been doing and ting ther in e commons room of the youth hostel.

It made me think about Normandy and the enormous sacrifices Americans and others made to hold off oppression in WWII. Which got me thinking about what Lewis says about the devil's strategy with patriotism. "Make his Christianity a means to another end." What are other priorities that can creep into the gospel of grace in Jesus? ....

I hope you were deeply moved in France as well as the other places we've visited so far, moved to gratitude. Ingratitude and presumption are the besetting sins of youth, and you and I have the disease far too often, don't we? On the other hand we can become proud of being Americans or Presbyterians, or whatever else we are.

There as so many distortions of gratitude and they all lead away from King Jesus and the gospel and we all get caught up in them most days of our lives. Augustine (not of Kent but of Hippo) said we are homo adorans or worshiping man, not nearly thinking man. Look around you at the monuments, the statues, the effigies, the memorials to ourselves and our accomplishments in almost every place we visit and you will agree. We worship... But not always aright.

Remember Cambridge as the cradle of the Reformation, the place where the Spirit of God began moving and transforming people's lives by the power of the gospel. But also recall that the king of England wanted to get in on things and with the Act of Supremacy in 1534 Henry VIII declared himself the head of the church. This was a power grab of cosmic proportion and the fall out of it lies all about us here as we observe English Christianity.

The church and the gospel had become simply a means to a temporal end for Henry. King Jesus is already and forever the head of his body the church but Henry wanted a larger piece of the pie.
But it's just kings and big shots who do this, right? We do this when we allow politics or any other cause to supersede the gospel. What are ways you do this in your life? What are your big priorities the ones that you think about, that consume your attention, your time, your resources, your money?

We're not Anglicans, or Catholics and so. May think we are exempt from distorting e gospel of creating idols, of making Christ a means to another end. We're not!

Ted Donnelly's sermon last night was a powerful reminder. Appropriately we heard a glorious sermon about the centrality of Christ in the cradle of the Reformation. Of how we place other things even within the church and our worship above Jesus, his cross and resurrection. "Let me see Jesus, sir." we must be relentless here. We constantly get distracted away from the centrality of Jesus Christ alas even in our very practice of being Christians.

Don't let anything trump Jesus. This trip is about many things, and many people, but first and last it is a trip where we want you to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus more as each day passes and then so throughout your lives. Solus Christus!

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