Anticipating two births – Luke 1:24, 34-35

Here in Luke 1, we get the stories leading up to the births, and even the conceptions, of both John the Baptist and his relative, Jesus Christ.  After the angel Gabriel speaks to John’s father, we read, in Luke 1:24,

After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived.

Gabriel also speaks to Mary.  When he does, he says, in Luke 1:34-35,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

Gabriel announced God’s plans to these interested participants before the children in question were even conceived.  This tells us something about God’s plans, and ours.  

I’m reminded of what God said to the prophet in Jeremiah 1:4-5,

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jesus, John and Jeremiah all had obviously special roles to play in God’s plans for his people.  Without getting into a too-lengthy study on the subject, there is ample evidence to conclude he has specific, and therefore special, plans for each one of us.  Each human life is important and a part of God’s plan.  

The plans for each person are not special because of who we are.  These plans are special because of whose they are and whose we are as a result.  If God created us with a plan, then that is something we need to take seriously.

There is a prayer from Hilary of Poitiers (who you can read about here), in which he says,

Before I came to know you, I was nothing.  I had the misfortune not to know the meaning of life, I was without understanding of myself, I was nothing of what I am now.  It was your mercy that gave me life.  I have no doubt that you decided it would be good for me to be born, for you are good, you had no need of me and you would not have given me life if it had been to my detriment … *

Personally, I would like to live out the thoughts expressed in that prayer for the rest of my life.  Hilary does not express God’s plan or purpose for him.  He only admits that he can trust that it must be good.  God is good and deserves that kind of trust from us, his created beings.  Whatever God’s purpose and plans are for each one of us, may we fulfill them to the utmost.

*from Early Christian Prayers, edited by A. Hamman, translated by Walter Mitchell

39 Books: Jeremiah – The Weeping Prophet

39 Bks Torah Scroll WhiteJeremiah – The Weeping Prophet

Jeremiah had the sad calling of announcing the coming judgment prior to the fall of Jerusalem and the people’s exile in Babylon.

24 Jeremiah.pdf               24 Jeremiah.mp3

Central Streaming: The New Covenant

jeremiah

Jeremiah prophesied against a nation that had broken their covenant with God. He foretells a time when God would replace that covenant with a new one.  The New Covenant is based upon the shed blood of Christ.

Jeremiah 31.pdf          Jeremiah 31.mp3

Just Another Reckless Form of Idolatry

After a bit of unsettling reflection on the deadly day of shopping at a Long Island Wal-Mart (see previous post),  I think there may be a loose relationship to another recent event – or rather, a category of events, which occur with disturbing regularity.

MSNBC.com
India stampede death toll passes 200
Dozens more injured as 12,000 celebrated key Hindu festival in Jodhpur
The Associated Press     updated 11:40 a.m. ET, Wed., Oct. 1, 2008

JODHPUR, India – A Hindu temple official blamed an unruly group of pilgrims trying to get ahead in a line of worshippers for a stampede that killed more than 200 people and injured nearly 60 in western India.
Authorities were still working to determine the final death toll, but the number had already crossed 200, said senior police official Rajeev Dosat.
The disaster occurred just as the doors of the temple were being opened for worship at dawn for more than 12,000 people celebrating a key Hindu festival in the historic city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state. …  To see the entire original article
Click Here

In India this is not a random, one off occurrence.  Keep your eyes and ears open to world news and you’ll certainly see it in the headlines again.  For example:

You get the idea.  In India it happens at the temples where they worship their gods and goddesses.  In the USA, where consumerism receives the kind of frenzied devotion normally reserved only for deities, it has begun to happen at Wal-Mart.  Listen closely and you can hear Jeremiah’s distant, tearful prayer:

O Lord, my strength and my fortress,
     My refuge in the day of affliction,
     The Gentiles shall come to You
     From the ends of the earth and say,
     “Surely our fathers have inherited lies,
     Worthlessness and unprofitable things.”
Will a man make gods for himself,
     Which are not gods?
                     – Jeremiah 16:19-20 (NKJV)