Doing Bruce’s job. [Psalm 90, Acts 11]

Robyn and I are having a weekend away at a family home. It is supposed to be a quiet weekend after a very busy six months. So far we have:

  • Replaced a toilet seat
  • Restocked the kitchen
  • Raked leaves… for two hours
  • Got some photos just before sunset
  • Bought the firewood in, because without a fire tonight we will freeze. The roof and guttering were iced last night

And then Robyn looked outside the property and raked the leaves there. Because her father, who died a couple of months ago, would have done that. We talked about how he complained about the leaves and how they raked for about two days at a time when they visited in autumn.

We now understand what they did.

There is a reason that Psalm 90 is quoted from the readings today. With strength, our parents are making it to eighty, but by then we are picking up the burden. And there is a reason why the lectionary is not being done first thing today, but after what was needed is done.

Acts 11:1-18

1Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

 Psalm 90

1   Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3   You turn us back to dust,
and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
4   For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
5   You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6   in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
7   For we are consumed by your anger;
by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
8   You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9   For all our days pass away under your wrath;
our years come to an end like a sigh.
10  The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11  Who considers the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12  So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.
13  Turn, O LORD! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
14  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15  Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
and as many years as we have seen evil.
16  Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands —
O prosper the work of our hands!

Bruce, who would have raked the leaves, also spent most of his life as a lay leader in his church. His generation built and preserved the mainline denominations, but these have been ruined by liberals, who have entered and deny God, Christ, and the need for salvation.

They would say that there is no need to rake leaves because the rot will kill the grass, and the resulting bare ground and moss is a far more eco friendly outcome. They would say heating the house shows a lack of concern for those without.

But they would not clean or heat those who cannot do it alone.

The older generations will look at this bunch of leaders and hold them accountable. Their job is to preach the gospel. It is not to signal virtue, or play politics. But the mainstream churches have, in general, gone too far down the path of being nice.

I know priests in Anglican churches, ministers in Presbyterian churches, of deep faith. I also know too many social activists in dog collars.

Bruce was more charitable. But the church had no shame in preaching Christ then: the liberals were shunted and pushed back, and souls saved were. Now it appears that the gospel is considered hate speech.

I pray that the Anglicans will restore sanity, but I have little hope for the US Episcopalians. As Z man notes:

Talking to my friend, he tells me that there are elements within the Episcopal Church that know what must be done to save the church. The trouble is they are outgunned and out maneuvered by the radicals. That’s the thing. The conservatives make it a priority to serve the church and serve God, while the radicals are always scheming to advance the radical agenda. The conservatives are constantly outmaneuvered because they are not playing the political games. They end up getting marginalized, despite having numbers.

Of course, young people seeking to join the clergy are confronted by a politicized bureaucracy full of homosexuals and social justice warriors, who are mainly interested in advancing their own agenda within the church. Like the old commie radicals of yesteryear, the current radicals use struggle sessions and purity tests to boil off those who would challenge their agenda. Imagine you’re a young priest and you are told you now have to celebrate a special mass for the transgendered.

Notice the feminine language. They want to “welcome and affirm” trannies into their churches. I’d like these guys to point to the passage in the Bible that covers men who like to play dress up or people so mentally unbalanced they believe their sex organs are imaginary. Ministering to the mentally ill has a place in a church, but that’s not what they are saying. They want to make mutilating people a sacrament. Imagine being forced to embrace this sort of madness. It is no wonder the sane clergy are leaving.

Of course, it’s also why the pews are empty. It’s another reminder that Progressives must be treated like rage zombies or highly contagious disease carriers. Once you let one into your organization, it will set about bringing in more of its kind. In this case, it was women in the clergy, then feminists, then homosexuals. They have reached the point where few inside the church care at all about the faith. It’s all about the latest Progressive fads and how they can outrage the remaining members of their congregations.

It is time for some mitres to be knocked off heads, crooks broken, and staves smashed. It is time for some iconoclasm. Or the work of generations will be lost by this feckless leadership [1].

For know this: the church belongs to God. He will preserve it. Despite the leadership. It is time to ignore them: it is time to preach the gospel, and Christ alone.

The previous generations knew Christ was LORD. We need to recall them, and proclaim that.