Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Circumcision of the Heart.

God is a practical God.  You ever notice that?  God not only tells us what He wants done, He gives us the helps we need to achieve His purposes.  I've been thinking about this as I'ved travelled in & out with Dino each day this week.  Dino's not communicative first thing in the morning; the traffic down the highway is slow.  I don't mind.  My thoughts revolve as slowly as the turning wheels & my meandering thoughts wander here & there & eventually came to roost like a homing pigeon because there's got to be as many versions of Christianity as there are Christians & Dino, being the practical sort, has honed in on the very practical applications of Christianity ~ exactly the area I'm left floundering, not being the practical sort myself, not understanding the theology, not even sure I agree with it ~ though that may be Dino's explanations because he always cuts to the main chase & leaves his foundational arguments out! [sigh]

It's not so much that I'm dense; I just don't think in straight lines.  I'm not sequential.  Sad to say it never once occurred to me to ask, Why?  Why this way, God?  I just accepted the random directions & leadings of the Holy Spirit.  Rather like doing a jig~saw I always think.  You have all these various coloured bits & some straight edges & some joined together bits & you know what the finished picture should look like [more or less] but meanwhile you sit staring at the funny shapes that don't seem to fit anywhere at all [did someone muddle this puzzle up with another?], scowling at the bit that should fit but won't, moving other bits round 'cause maybe upside down is better ~ or sideways, even back~to~front starts looking more feasible than what you've got.

So some years ago now God started leaning on me with Romans 12:2 [And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.] He lent hard.  OK.  I'm a visual.  I'm the kid that read jam jar labels & the adds on trains for wont of anything else & sad to say, over the years, I've not been very discriminatory about what went into my head.  Do we get to jettison the trash at some point?  So I got this one.  I started self~censoring my reading material ~ & believe me this is no easy task because I still read whatever happens to be in my line of vision no matter what it is!  It's why I have so much trouble in church.  Always have, probably always will.  I get distracted by what I can see.  Oh, I can sit still.  I can bob up & down in all the right places.  I can make the right responses & sing along as need be but I would hardly call what I do worship.  The old mind is off on a whole 'nother tangent.  Like, wow, what a really ugly shade of orange that woman's dress is.  What was she thinking?...Cute kid....Look at those shoes!  How can she walk in them? Toupee ~ or not toupee? Doesn't she get giddy dancing around like that?  Gosh!  What if she falls over?  Bring the whole show to a crashing standstill....& so my thought thunder & crash for the entire hour.  No wonder I shut my eyes & shut the whole circus out.  No wonder I like silent worship.  It's such a relief!!!!

Which brings me, albeit in a very round~about fashion, back to the Sabbath, back to the festivals & somewhere along the way the ol' penny dropped & I felt it hit bottom because I am tired of hearing, "God looks on the heart" to justify things I'm pretty certain God don't approve of.  I'm tired of hearing Grace ~ without accountability.  I'm just tired of the free~for~all ~one~size~fits~all~God~loves~you version of Christianity because we are priests....priests!  The Spirit in us is all that stays God's hand because for the sake of one righteous man God spared Zoar ~ & we are made righteous through Christ.

....Coming back to the point.  So.  I was looking at the Sabbath & it struck me how observing, learning, from these OT traditions is renewing my mind.  They are training me to keep God at the centre of my entire life.  This is not theoretical.  This is not vaguely wishy~washy wishful thinking as I so often hear from Christians.  This is practical, step by step application.  The Hebrew names for the days of the week are a good example ~ & very Quakerish, which makes me giggle: Yom Reeshone [first day ~ from the Sabbath], Yom Shaynee [2nd day ~ from the Sabbath] ~ & so on.  The entire week revolves around the Sabbath, thus continually bringing one's mind, & thus one's heart, back to the idea of worship.  From Wednesday on the preparations for keeping the Sabbath are well under way because there is a good deal of preparation ~ which I am faaaar too lazy to engage in though if you are a hands on learner ~ perfect! Sunday through Tuesday is time to reflect on the last Sabbath; Wednesday on one is planning & thinking forward to the new Sabbath.  The Sabbath is for rest.  It is for family & celebration & the worship of God ~ & the end result is the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the heart of stone for God's heart of flesh.  God has not left us to founder haphazardly towards His truth.  He has not left us to rely haphazardly on man~made institutions of State & Church.  He's shown us!  Here are the tools, He says, Use these.

And having said all that we are not keeping the Sabbath this week.  I am taking Star into a rehearsal because the child is spending Saturday workshopping with the King's Singers. [sigh]  My heart might be in the right place but my obedience isn't.  Not this week.  Good thing we are not bound Ixion like to the wheel of the Law.  Just the same I am sad.  There is such peace & anticipation ~ & Blessing ~ that comes from walking in the God ordained ways.


Ruby said...

Sometimes these posts make my head spin! While I am no theologian, I do like a logical progression and I believe that God, being a God of order, enables us to work things through, by his spirit.
You are right of course, that many use the "not under law under grace", mantra to avoid any type of practical biblical christianity.
I have actually found that the Westminster Confession has helped me enormously to think in straight lines. Always backed by scripture of course but no different from reading from other theologians and thinkers of the past.
Again, I am not always sure when I comment on these posts that I am even on your wave length but these are my thinks!
Have a nice weekend even minus the restful Lord's Day.

Ganeida said...

Ruby, you do make me laugh! ☺ I'm pretty sure not too many are on my wavelength. Straight lines give me a pain in my head. lol Figure I can't go wrong sticking with the God's scriptures

Ruby said...

Keeping in mind that God's Word is perfect and never errs, we however can and often do :-(
(Come on, you have to give me some brownie points for attempting to comment.)

Ganeida said...

Of course I give you Brownie points for commenting. Everybody else high tails it & runs for the hills. ;P

Julie said...

Ruby made me laugh too - she sounds like my kind of woman. I always look forward to your posts, and am often confronted, which is a good thing. I have felt "leaned on" for years about the Sabbath, but not about what day it is, but about *keeping* it. Making it a day like no other.

Maybe your next post should be about why so many Christians do consider Sunday their Sabbath...I've heard sermons on this. How after Jesus arose and from then on, they met together on the Lord's Day, which was Sunday? I'm sure you know more than I (which is very little)....maybe you could shed some light, Ganeida. :)

Ganeida said...

Actually, Julie, I thought the Saturday Sabbath continued to be kept until the Catholic church meddled ~ for reasons best known to themselves ~ but I would have to look it up to be sure. I know some well known ministers who have admitted Sunday is not the Lord's Day ~ but they have felt unable to prevail against centuries of ingrained tradition.

I know very little actual church history ~ it tends to bore me & I do not do well with Ask my kids! However I'm sure I can come up with lots of useless information ; useless information being my strong suite!!!

seekingmyLord said...

From my research, it was not the Roman Catholic church that changed the worship day to Sunday, it was done before any papal hierarchy. It was too wide spread a practice to be funneled from of the Roman Catholic church. Even the Syriac, the Armenian, and Coptic Christians worshiped on Sunday, although they had very little contact with Rome at the time.

Nor do I think it was a grace only thing. The early Christian church probably changed it to honor the Resurrection and New Covenant. I would think that they did this with much prayer and seeking of guidance from the Lord and church leaders.

Even when Constantine instituted the seven-day week, changing from the Roman ten-day week, Christians were already worshiping on Sunday and it suggested that his purpose was to make it easier for them.

Now the Sabbath itself, if one is to keep it, I would think it must be kept with all the laws of the Sabbath. I am very sympathetic to the Hebrew traditions, but here again is where I wonder if God required those laws to be in place or if man did. Even Jesus healed, opening not *resting* on the Sabbath.

All that said I agree that Saturday is the Sabbath, but Sunday is the Lord’s Day and I must follow the Lord's leading on this issue...and I am not certain, at this time, that the day of worship would be the same for everyone. I do know this, however, there is no day that one *cannot* worship and there is no day that one *should not* worship. I believe that was the true message of my Lord.

On a side note: Personally, I have broken every one of the Ten Commandments, if not in deed then certainly in thought. They are impossible to keep even with the best of intentions and that is exactly why God promised Adam at the first fall: there would be a Savior, who would bring the Covenant of Grace, not so that we could intentionally sin, but so that we could be assured of our salvation regardless of our sins.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: I have absolutely no quibble with what you have to say. I am merely discussing how the Lord is showing me His heart in worship & it's intent & purpose ~ which is never all the trappings that seem to attach themselves to these things. I'm sure you know far more about church history than I do though I will check because something isn't gelling with what I remember from my reading ~ but given my memory is highly selective I am probably misremembering entirely! lol

Sandra said...

My, you have been busy thinking I see! I understand, my thoughts are also not linear. It is hard to stay on focus sometimes, but you do a good job of keeping your purpose, feeling God, front and center.

seekingmyLord said...

Here's another thing to ponder: The calendar that we follow today is based upon the solar year. The seven day week of the Jewish calendar, still observed at the time of Christ, was based on the lunar calender. I am thinking that with all the leap years to correct the solar year that the result is today's Sabbath could be days off most years.

seekingmyLord said...

I was looking to verify my last comment and I found it: In relation to the Gregorian calendar, the mean Gregorian calendar year is 365 days 5 hours 49 minutes and 12 seconds long (365.2425 days), and the drift of the Hebrew calendar in relation to it is about a day every 231 years, and that is with their leap years when an extra 30-day month is added. This means unless one is going by the traditional Hebrew calendar, it is most likely Sabbath is not observed correct *day* for centuries at a time.

Just in case anyone wants to adhere precisely to the Sabbath.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: I know you are a stickler for detail but this is obsessive! ☺ I think *traditionally* the Jews use a combination of the solar & lunar calenders for accuracy ~ me, I can't do the math on this one, but the Sabbath was to be celebrated every 7 days of 24 hour length so I'm not convinced the calander is pertinent. The math would defeat me before I even came close to unravelling this one.

On a slightly different tack ~ I won't be home to Skype this weekend. :( I think next is free. How are you situated?

Sandra: Yay! I am so happy to have you back! ☺

seekingmyLord said...

LOL! What is judged "obsessive" is in the eyes of the beholder. Some may say the same about anyone writing on a subject with passion and conviction, n'est-ce pas?

As to the math, I have one word for you: Wikipedia.

I think that being a stickler for detail about what day the Sabbath should be proves an important point...perhaps two. One, no one can fulfill the Law exactly. Two, how easy it is to fall into the trap of defining the details and trying be exact in one's obedience to the Law, just as the Jewish leaders have done. You cannot truly appreciate the Jewish traditions, symbolism, and rituals without appreciating their exactness.

Also, to further clarify, what is a day in the Jewish tradition is not exactly 24 hours either: it is from sundown to sundown so the length of the Sabbath be exact.

Skype...perhaps Tuesday evening or even Friday?

Ganeida said...

lol I have a good book that does the math for me & still it does my head in & I cannot cope. I think your comments prove my point actually; The Law only provides a guideline which can never be perfectly fulfilled by any human but it provides the standard which the mercy of Grace fulfills. It is not the keeping that is important; it is the journeying. Interesting journey...

Skype ~ hmmm. I think Friday may be ok. Things are muddly here thanks to Dino but now he has his lisence I hope to drag a semblence of order out of our chaos.

seekingmyLord said...

Hope to talk with you then.

I just had another interesting thought on the idea of Sabbath being from sunset to sunset. What if one lives in an area near the poles so that the sun does not set for weeks or even months? Now that would be a Sabbath!

Ganeida said...

Generally, regardless of the sun's position, the sabbath runs from 6pm to 6pm. ☺ No doubt to give the Arctic circle Jews some respite!

Joyfulmum said...

lol, yes I did read this and ran for the hills (as you put it) :) only because as Ruby said, it also makes my head spin and one day hopefully when my dd is grown up a bit more and I have a bit more time I'll be able to sensibly comment on these brain stretching / head spinning posts lol!

Ganeida said...

You know, Rosemary, don't you, that it's just me waffling away? Nothing too difficult because I'm just not that smart. ♥