Lord’s Day 12 (Q/A 31-32): ELECTIONS

31   Q.    Why is he called “Christ,”
               meaning “anointed”?

A.    Because he has been ordained by God the Father
and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit^1
to be
our chief prophet and teacher^2
who fully reveals to us
the secret counsel and will of God concerning our deliverance;^3
our only high priest^4
who has delivered us by the one sacrifice of his body,
and who continually pleads our cause with the Father;^5
and our eternal king
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who guards us and keeps us
in the freedom he has won for us.^6

^1 Ps. 45:[7]; Heb. 1:9
^2 Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22
^3 John 1:18; 15:15
^4Ps. 110; Heb. 7:21; 10:12
^5 Rom. 8:34;5:9-10
^6 Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33;Matt. 28:18;John 10:28

32   Q.    But why are you called a Christian?

A.    Because by faith I am a member of Christ^1
and so I share in his anointing.^2
I am anointed
to confess his name,^3
to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,^4
to strive with a free conscience against sin and the devil
in this life,^5
and afterward to reign with Christ
over all creation
for eternity.^6

^1 Acts 11:26, 1 Cor. 6:15
^2 1John 2:27;Isa. 59:21;Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28;Mark 8:[34-]38
^3 Rom. 12:1;Rev. 5:8[-14];1 Pet. 2:9
^4 Rom. 6:12;Rev. 1:6
^5 1 Tim. 1:19
^6 2 Tim. 2:12


Lord’s Day 12 (Q/A 31-32)


Mike Ditka, the former head football coach of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, observed that, “Success is not permanent and failure is not fatal.”

The Reformed theological tradition’s important emphasis on God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. The relationship between the two, while not equal as God’s sovereignty initiates, governs, originates and fulfills, still human responsibility is serious business because we are created in the image of God and are responsible for our  choices and our actions.

While I don’t know if Ditka is Reformed in his theological orientation, his insight speaks wisdom to our human tendency to equate our success primarily or exclusively to ourselves, or delude ourselves in thinking that our strategies have some sort of enduring permanence; or on the opposite side, thinking that any failures, limitations, defeats somehow permanently delete any hope we have of recovering and starting all over again.  On one side, our souls are tempted to arrogance, pride, and grandiosity akin to the builders of Babel; on the other side, our hearts can be enticed to wallow in self-pity and despair.  In both instances, it is a functional atheism that forgets who God is, or takes for granted who God is and how God has elected to be with us, for us, and in us.

Elections are sacred acts because through it choices are weighed, and those choices are then expressed through votes.

God has conducted an election. His election is a decisive one – we are always on the “winning” side, there are no “losers” – and the guarantee of the election, the process of the election itself, and the outcome of the election are predicated on God through Christ in the Holy Spirit.

Q/A 31-32 is a healthy dose of God’s sovereignty-human responsibility — a theological reality that sometimes gets consigned to a daily Post-It note, when in point and in fact, what we do Sunday through Saturday, in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, in our work places, in our families, in our schools, at the grocery line, in our retirement homes, in hospitals, in hotel rooms, on airplanes, in the playground, on sporting fields, in our churches — all of these places we live, and move and have our being – are the arenas in which God’s sovereignty and human responsibility interact.

Q/A 31 tells us as that Christ is the anointed one, the elected one, chosen by God, to take on the three offices – the so-called “munum triplex” (three offices) – of prophet/teacher, high priest, and king.  The Reformed theological tradition speaks extensively about this triple office exercised by our Lord Jesus Christ.  His holistic ministry, both when he was on earth with the early disciples and upon his ascension to heaven, involves:

-Instructing us in the ways of God, the work of God in salvation, leading us to righteousness and holiness|
-Interceding for us – that even when we cannot pray or are unable to pray, even when you are asleep! –   our High Priest Jesus Christ prays for you, prays with you, and by His Spirit – gives us the words to pray
-Guarding and keeping us – King Jesus doesn’t leave the citizens of His kingdom  to fend for themselves. We are his precious ones, purchased not with silver or gold, but by His own precious blood. Why would He leave us, therefore? We are never outside of His protection.

In other words, Jesus Christ has your back and mine, through and through.

Q/A 32 doesn’t let us off the hook. As Q/A 31 asserts that Christ as prophet, priest and king is for us, is with us and in us…we are responsible to live lives worthy of the calling…worthy of the election.  As Jesus is God’s elected One, the exclusive One chosen to save, redeem, deliver, and reconcile, we are the elected ones in Him.  When God elects in Jesus, the elected One, no hanging chads are used, no appeals process is in order, no contesting of the election can ever occur.  You and I are elected in Christ, the elected One.  What this means is that every moment of everyday of our lives, we are to live out that election.

What do you elect to do, therefore, as a Christian?  What do you elect to do, Sunday through Saturday, 365 days a year, as one who has been given the name of follower of Jesus Christ, a “Christian”?

Notice the language of Q/A 32. As Christians, our lives derive from the life of Jesus Christ. That means that as Jesus Christ lives out His calling/election as prophet, high priest, and king – we, too, have a calling that is prophetic, that is priestly, and that is “kingly” in some way – all of which derive and find their basis in Christ’s own election/calling, and Christ’s own life.

Prophetic: As Christ has the exclusive calling /election to proclaim and teach the counsels, wisdom, and ways of our heavenly Father….you and I have a prophetic calling that is joined to that of our brother and our Lord…we, too, are to teach all that Christ has taught us, to teach one another what we have seen and heard, the ways of Jesus, to proclaim the salvation of God.  But again, it’s not by our strength or by our will, nor by our success, nor by our failure.  Christ speaks, and Christ calls us to proclaim in His name, to do that which He did in obedience to our heavenly Father.

Priestly: As Christ has the exclusive calling/election to intercede for us, to present us and our prayers to our heavenly Father..you and I have a priestly calling to daily present ourselves to God, to make a choice to follow God, to pray to God and for one another, to daily elect that we will live out our calling. But again, this priestly calling is impossible to do consistently and constantly. Thanks be to God that Christ who is our High Priest intercedes for us and with us, to live out our calling.

Kingly: As Christ has the exclusive calling/election to rule and reign over us, to call us to obedient life, to sustain us, to protect us, and to govern us so we are never away from Him,…you and I have a “kingly” calling to strive with our freedom, to take the reins of our wills, our choices, our decisions, our actions, our emotions – as we seek to live faithfully and fully into our calling/election as followers of Jesus Christ. But again, it’s not by our own wills alone, nor is it finally about striving or an onerous burden heaped upon us. Thanks be to God that Christ is and forever will be king, and that means, even as brokenness and hurt are deeply seen and experienced in the world around us, both near and far, we pray and serve and live not in vain, but as citizens of Christ’s kingdom who have been called and elected.


Lord’s Day 10 (Q/A 27-28): GOD AT THE ALTAR, ALTERING US

27   Q.   What do you understand
               by the providence of God?

A.    The almighty and ever present power of God^1
by which God upholds, as with his hand,
and earth
and all creatures,
and so rules them^2 that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and lean years,
food and drink,^3
health and sickness,^4
prosperity and poverty—^5
all things, in fact,
come to us
not by chance
but by his fatherly hand.

^1 Acts 17:25[-28]
^2 Heb. 1:3
^3 Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:17
^4 John 9:3
^5 Prov. 22:2


28   Q.   How does the knowledge
               of God’s creation and providence help us?

A.    We can be patient when things go against us,^1
thankful when things go well,^2
and for the future we can have
good confidence in our faithful God and Father^3
that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.^4
For all creatures are so completely in God’s hand
that without his will
they can neither move nor be moved.^5

^1 Rom. 5:3; James 1:3;Job 1:21
^2 Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18
^3 Rom. 5:5-6
^4 Rom. 8:38-39
^5 Job 1:12; 2:6; Acts 17:28;Prov. 21:1




Lord’s Day 10 (Q/A 27-28)

“God at the Altar, Altering Us”


As I write this reflection, I am preparing to officiate my eighth wedding since being ordained as a pastor.  From the premarital counseling to the actual wedding day, each wedding recalls for me the glorious day that Grace and I came to the wedding altar 11 years ago, before 150 of our family and friends, and exchanged our vows. Each day since then is about becoming married, living out our promises in the daily joys and grind of working, parenting, traveling, making doctor’s appointments.  Our wedding ceremony included a celebration of the Eucharist and a call to the baptized community to remember their belongingness to the family of God, and the God who gave His Son Jesus Christ for us, whose active decision to be for us is embodied at the bread and the cup, as is with the Scriptural image of the wedding feast and Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride.  In each and every ritual act that we observed, we wanted to share with the gathered assembly at our wedding and to anchor our married life to the triune God whose very presence and power at the wedding altar is what made the wedding a wedding, and whose very presence and power makes our marriage a marriage.

Q/A 27-28 describes God’s providence, which Eberhard Busch links to God’s predestination.  Recall that there is an important difference between  predestination and predeterminism. Reformed Christians believe in predestination, not predeterminism. Predestination means that God knows the end, our destiny; the triune God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit—is our beginning and our end – the Alpha and the Omega. The triune God is the source of our life – in Him we live, and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and  our fate rests in Him, as is our life when our physical life here is finished. That’s predestination.  Predeterminism says that God determines every detail and minutiae, from the breakfast you will eat to the vacation you will take next year. Predeterminism negates the freedom given to human beings, rendering us as enfleshed robots whose actions and words are controlled.

Q/A 27-28 reminds me of language similar to altar language – at weddings, at baptisms, at the Lord’s Table; whether in “leaf and blade, rain and drought. . .health and sickness” God upholds and sustains. Whatever condition or circumstance we may encounter or experience, God’s “fatherly hand” abides and abounds. This is a daily, moment-by-moment, promise of God, whereby our lives, the world, is an altar – spaces and places where each and all are offered to God and where God encounters us.

Liturgical and homiletical scholar Heather Murray Elkins speaks about “altaring” (note the “a”) in order to “alter” (note the “e”).  God altars our minds, hearts, and souls in order to alter it. God altars the world in order to alter it.  In other words, the power, presence, and promise of the triune God abides and abounds a broken and hurting world, in order to transform  it. That’s what Q/A 28 goes at length to describe.  God’s providence (Latin “providential” meaning “care”) – God’s  persevering intentionality to see us all the way through—altars us so that our view of all circumstances and conditions are altered; our approach, our regard to those things are altered. The alteration expresses itself in patience, thankfulness, confidence.

That’s difficult, especially when we are confronted with the harshness and gravity of our human condition, the plight of illness, the stubbornness of irreconcilable differences, terminal illness.

That is precisely why we need to lean on the providential care of our loving heavenly Father. Because patience, thankfulness, confidence are not habits of the heart that we can muster up, create on our own, or take some pill to develop that disposition.  Matters of the heart are entirely from God.  Thankfully, that comes from  the God who is providential, through and through, whose vows to us altars us to alter us.

Lord’s Day 9 (Q/A 26): THE PRODIGAL FATHER

26   Q.   What do you believe when you say,
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth”?

A.   That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who out of nothing created heaven and earth
and everything in them,^1
who still upholds and rules them
by his eternal counsel and providence,^2
is my God and Father
because of Christ the Son.^3
I trust God so much that I do not doubt
he will provide
whatever I need
for body and soul,^4
and will turn to my good
whatever adversity he sends upon me
in this sad world.^5
God is able to do this because he is almighty God^6
and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.^7

^1 Gen. 1;Ps. 33:6
^2 Ps. 104; Ps. 115:3; Matt. 10:29; Heb. 1:3,
^3 John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5-7;Eph. 1:5
^4 Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-26;Luke 12:22
^5 Rom. 8:28
^6 Rom. 10:12
^7 Matt. 6:32; 7:9


  LORD’S DAY 9 (Q/A 26)
“The Prodigal Father”

Your dad is not perfect. Neither was mine. Nor am I. Whether you had a deadbeat dad, or the most loving, supportive dad, he, like me, ain’t perfect. Not by any long shot. It took time, emotional and spiritual maturity, my being married with children, and the sheer act of the Holy Spirit to understand my own dad, to accept him for who he is, fully love and appreciate him in my life, and to ask his forgiveness a few years ago for the ways that I disrespected  him growing-up. When I stood as a candidate for General Assembly moderator, I shared with you and the whole Church my genuine desire and sense of call to pray and work for unity in the body, due in large part to the Continue reading “Lord’s Day 9 (Q/A 26): THE PRODIGAL FATHER”

Lord’s Day 8 (Q/A 24-25): 1 ACT, 3 SCENES

24   Q.   How are these articles divided?

A.   Into three parts:
God the Father and our creation;
God the Son and our deliverance;
and God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.

25   Q.   Since there is only one divine being,^1
why do you speak of three:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

A.   Because that is how
God has revealed himself in his Word:^2
these three distinct persons
are one, true, eternal God.

^1 Deut. 6:4
^2 Isa. 61:1; Ps. 110:1; Matt. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19; 1 John 5:7[-8]



Lord’s Day 8 (Q/A 24-25)

“1 Act, 3 Scenes”

Two lessons in marriage, parenting, and the dynamic of presence-absence.

Andrew (my youngest son): Mom, can you buy me the new Pokemon cards?

Grace (my wife): No, you already have a whole stack that you got on your birthday.

(Andrew leaves saddened. Goes to next room where I am working)

Andrew: My handsome, cool dad, how are you? Can you buy me the new Pokemon cards? Continue reading “Lord’s Day 8 (Q/A 24-25): 1 ACT, 3 SCENES”


20   Q.   Are all people then saved through Christ
just as they were lost through Adam?

A.    No.
Only those are saved
who through true faith
are grafted into Christ
and accept all his benefits.^1

^1 John 1:12; 3:36; Isa. 53:11, Ps. 2:11[-12]; Rom. 11:17, 19; Heb. 4:2; 10:39


21   Q.   What is true faith?

A.    True faith is
not only a sure knowledge by which I hold as true
all that God has revealed to us in Scripture;^1
it is also a wholehearted trust,^2
which the Holy Spirit^3 creates in me by the gospel,^4
that God has freely granted
not only to others but to me also,
forgiveness of sins,
eternal righteousness,
and salvation.^5
These are gifts of sheer grace,
granted solely by Christ’s merit.^6

^1 Heb. 11:1, 3;James 2:19
^2 Rom. 4:16[-25]; James 1:6; Rom. 5:1;Rom. 10[:9-10]
^3 2 Cor. 4[:6, 13];Eph. 2[:8, 18];Matt. 16:17;John 3:[5-]13;Gal. 5:22; Phil. 1:29
^4 Rom. 1:16;10:17
^5 Heb. 2[:9-11]; Rom. 1[:16];Heb. 10:38;Hab. 2:4;Matt. 9:2;Eph. 2:7-9;Rom. 5:1
^6 Eph. 2[:8]; Rom. 3:24-25;Gal. 2:16


22   Q.   What then must a Christian believe?

A.    All that is promised us in the gospel,^1
a summary of which is taught us
in the articles of our universal
and undisputed Christian faith.

^1 John 20:31; Matt. 28:20
23    Q.    What are these articles?
         A.    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

 Lord’s Day 7 (Q/A 20-23)

“Diagramming Sentences: The Gospel and Its Witness”

Continue reading “Lord’s Day 7 (Q/A 20-23): DIAGRAMMING SENTENCES: THE GOSPEL AND ITS WITNESS”


16   Q.   Why must the mediator be a true and righteous human?

A.    God’s justice demands
that human nature, which has sinned,
must pay for sin;^1
but a sinful human could never pay for others.^2

^1 Rom. 5:12, 15
^2 1 Pet. 3:18; Isa. 53:3-5,10-11


17   Q.   Why must the mediator also be true God?

A.    So that the mediator,
by the power of his divinity,
might bear the weight of God’s wrath in his humanity^1
and earn for us
and restore to us
righteousness and life.^2

^1 Isa. 53:8; Acts 2:24;1 Pet. 3:18
^2 John 3:16;1 John 1:2, 4:12; Acts 20:18 [28]; John 1[:4,12]


18   Q.   Then who is this mediator—
true God and at the same time
a true and righteous human?

A.    Our Lord Jesus Christ,^1
who was given to us
to completely deliver us
and make us right with God.^2

^1 Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16;Luke 2:11
^2 1 Cor. 1:30


19   Q.   How do you come to know this?

A.    The holy gospel tells me.
God began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;^
later God proclaimed it
by the holy patriarchsand prophets^2
and foreshadowed it
by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;^3
and finally God fulfilled it
through his own beloved Son.^4

^1 Gen. 3:15
^2 Gen. 22:18; 49:10-11; Rom. 1:2;Heb. 1:1; Acts 3:22-24; 10:43
^3 John 5:46; Heb. 10:7 [1-10]
^4 Rom. 10:4;Gal. 4:4



Lord’s Day 6 (Q/A 16-19)
“God’s News: Always Good, Forever Personal, Eternally Effective”

A Saturday Night Live! Segment parodied headline news shows where an anchor sits at a desk as various news items flash on every part of the screen: a scrolling marquee at the bottom of TV screens with brief blurb items of world and national disasters, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ totals in the upper-right hand corner, the local time for each time zone imaginable on the lower-right hand corner, the current weather and the weather forecast for the next week in whatever available space there was, with the eyeball of the news anchor somewhere peeking through this inundation of news feeds and information.


Lord’s Day 5 (Q/A 12-15): JUSTICE

12   Q.    According to God’s righteous judgment
               we deserve punishment
               both now and in eternity:
               how then can we escape this punishment
               and return to God’s favor?

A.   God requires that his justice be satisfied.^1
Therefore the claims of this justice
must be paid in full,
either by ourselves or by another.^2

^1 Exod. 20:5; 23:7
^2 Rom. 8:3-4


13   Q.    Can we make this payment ourselves?

A.    Certainly not.
Actually, we increase our debt every day.^1

^1 Job 9:3; 15:15; Matt. 6:12


14   Q.    Can another creature—any at all—
                pay this debt for us?

A.    No.
To begin with,
God will not punish any other creature
for what a human is guilty of.^1
no mere creature can bear the weight
of God’s eternal wrath against sin
and deliver others from it.^2

^1 Heb. 2:14
^2 Ps. 130:3


15   Q.    What kind of mediator and deliverer
               should we look for then?

A.   One who is a true^1 and righteous human,^2
yet more powerful than all creatures,
that is, one who is also true God.^3

^1 1 Cor. 15:21
^2 Jer. 33:15; Isa. 53:9Ps. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21
^3 Heb. 7:[15-]16; Isa. 7:14; Rom. 8:3;Jer. 23:6

Lord’s Day 5 (Q/A 12-15)


As a parent, watching children grow up and reflecting upon my own growing up years, I’ve become more aware of the delicate balance of parenting that requires gentle discipline, firm instruction with gracious freedom; both sets are needed for healthy upbringing.  I’ve seen examples of children who have grown up in environments of opposite extremes.  An extremely harsh, authoritative parent who casts correction and instruction without affirmation, acceptance and grace results in a fearful child who grows up ashamed, fearful, and, in time, rebellious – when freedom from the harsh parent is found.  The other extreme of an overly permissive parenting – where a child is constantly soothed, affirmed, allowed to be as free as the blowing wind. I’ve seen many children in our neighborhood where these kinds of children have no respect for their parents, grandparents, often shouting at their elders.  In both sets, a rebellious heart results. Continue reading “Lord’s Day 5 (Q/A 12-15): JUSTICE”


9     Q.   But doesn’t God do us an injustice
by requiring in his law
what we are unable to do?

A.    No,^1 God created human beings with the ability to keep the law.
They, however, provoked by the devil,^2
in willful disobedience,
robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.

^1 Eph. 4:[22-23], 24-25
^2 Luke 10:30[-37]


10   Q.   Does God permit
such disobedience and rebellion
to go unpunished?

A.     Certainly not.^1
God is terribly angry
with the sin we are born with
as well as the sins we personally commit.

As a just judge,
God will punish them both now and in eternity,
having declared:
“Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey
all the things written in the book of the law.”^2

^1 Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27
^2 Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10

11   Q.   But isn’t God also merciful?

A.   God is certainly merciful,^1
but also just.^2
God’s justice demands
that sin, committed against his supreme majesty,
be punished with the supreme penalty—
eternal punishment of body and soul.

^1 Exod. 34:6
^2 Exod. 20:5; Ps. 5:5; 2 Cor. 6:14

  “Serious Freedom…Seriously”

This weekend marks the 237th anniversary of the United States of America’s independence from England. It also marks a momentous and historic occasion for our sisters and brothers in Egypt as millions of them –Muslim, Christian, and secular alike—literally joined hand-in-hand to call for the resignation of an oppressive regime. When a moderatorial delegation I led this past May visited Egypt, we were struck by the determination, courage and confidence of Presbyterian and Coptic Christians who were ready to put their faith into action, recognizing that such efforts might cost them their very lives. Reports that our delegation and our national offices were receiving from partners in the region leading up to the decisive moment last Monday (June 30, 2013) were filled with cautious hopefulness, not knowing what would happen, but a certain appointment with the inevitable. They had reached a point of no return because the heart of the Egyptian people wanted to be free.  The revolution that toppled the Mubarak regime two years ago and which ushered in the Morsy presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood brought with it the hopes and dreams of the Egyptian people – at long last, poverty would be alleviated, the economy would prosper, religious protections would be secured, women and Christian minorities would be given a place in the new governance, all sectors of the nation would be part of shaping the future of their country. The stated promises of the presidency were just that: statements without action. In fact, what we heard again and again from church leaders were stories of repression, oppression, violence, iron-handed governance, a questionable election, and a post-revolution constitution that placed power and control over collaboration and a shared future.

Continue reading “Lord’s Day 4 (Q/A 9-11): SERIOUS FREEDOM…SERIOUSLY”

Lord’s Day 3 (Q/A 6-8): OUR COMMON LOT

6  Q. Did God create people
so wicked and perverse?

A. No.^1
God created them good and in his own image,^2
that is, in true righteousness and holiness,
so that they might
truly know God their creator,
love him with all their heart,
and live with God in eternal happiness,
to praise and glorify him.^3

^1 Gen. 1:31
^2 Gen. 1:26-27
^3 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24

7 Q. Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

A. The fall and disobedience of our first parents,
Adam and Eve, in Paradise.^1
This fall has so poisoned our nature
that we are all conceived and born
in a sinful condition.^2

^1 Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12, 18-19
^2 Ps. 51:5; Gen. 5:3

8 Q. But are we so corrupt
that we are totally unable to do any good
and inclined
toward all evil?

A. Yes,^1  unless we are born again
by the Spirit of God.^2

^1 John 3:6;Gen. 6:5; Job 14:4;15:16, [35]; Isa. 53:6
^2 John 3:5

“Our Common Lot”

Last week was busy with laws in legislative halls and the U.S. Supreme Court. Historic immigration reform legislation was being debated in Congress. The Texas State Senate was embroiled in procedural gymnastics (complete with a 13-hour filibuster) that made any parliamentarian heart’s delight as a bill regarding abortion headed for a showdown. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down rulings related to the Voting Rights Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the status of same-gender marriage in the state of California.  My Facebook and Twitter feeds were buzzing, several folks describing the week as a “roller-coaster,” no doubt as each of these legislative and judicial moves were celebrated by many and bemoaned by many, depending on one’s perspective.

Continue reading “Lord’s Day 3 (Q/A 6-8): OUR COMMON LOT”

Lord’s Day 2 (Q/A 3-5): MIRROR, MIRROR

3     Q.   How do you come to know your misery?

       A.    The law of God tells me.^1

^1 Rom. 3:20

4     Q.   What does God’s law require of us?

A.    Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.’
This is the greatest and first commandment.
“And a second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
“On these two commandments hang
all the law and the prophets.”

5     Q.   Can you live up to all this perfectly?

A.    No.^1
I have a natural tendency
to hate God and my neighbor.^2

^1 Rom. 3:10; 3:23; 1 John 1:8
^2 Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:3

“Mirror, Mirror”

In the 140,000 miles I’ve traveled thus far as General Assembly moderator, I carry in my briefcase a framed drawing that my eldest son gave to me one Father’s Day depicting he and I holding each other’s hands. Within this frame, I placed photos of both of my sons, and four trading cards they gave to me from their prized Pokemon card collection. This frame of mementos, together with a card from my wife that remains in my carrying case, accompanies me in hotels, meeting halls, church sanctuaries, assembly meetings, countless airports and rental cars. They speak to me when I can’t FaceTime or Skype with my family; they tether me to home.

Continue reading “Lord’s Day 2 (Q/A 3-5): MIRROR, MIRROR”