Serving in the Kingdom
I just publically made a promise…I wrote it on a shirt I wore to worship and I wrote it on a banner in that place of worship. Since I am a seminarian and a Presbyterian it is Scriptural. In Psalm 33 we sing (pray) to God, “…we can trust everything he does”. In the Men’s Breakfast Adult Education study of The Language of God we also affirm Psalm 33 in the premise “…the Lord merely spoke and heavens were created”. How did he do it? “…For when he spoke the world began! It appeared at his command.” In this same understanding the youth of PPC affirmed Psalm 33, “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord.” The young women and men of our community expressed their experience of God in the happiness and joy of others elsewhere and the need of these to love others and receive love. In a written testimony received in association with Heifer Project (supported by PPC) a fellow Christian in another community also affirms the witness of our youthful adults simply, “They may be poor in material need, but rich in (Holy) Spirit. Their souls do not need saving (by the love of God they hold, and express, they are saved), but just a glass of clean water (or a smile, a laugh, attention, kindness, and presence to reflect that they are truly in the image of God).
As a part of the promise is a pledge. We use the word pledge in our society today but we mean sacrifice. We don’t use the term sacrifice much…it is loaded with the assumptions of (1) dealing with the problem of sin and (2) it deals with a method to cause God to stop being angry with us. Yet neither the OT nor NT supports these assumptions. Sometimes sacrifice does have something to do with sin, but dealing with sin is not the main object. God does get angry, but sacrifice does not relate to God’s anger.
We give ourselves in response to God’s giving himself to us—it is an act of sacrifice (Romans 12). When we testify to what God has done it is a sacrifice of praise (Heb 13:15). These acts of sacrifice reflect our OT heritage—a tradition of worship and fellowship between people and God and one another in which gratitude is expressed for what God has done for them; in promise of an offering to God in relation to acts of God in their lives; and from the joy and pleasure to be able to give something to God (freewill offering). None of these sacrifices dealt with real sin. Sacrifices were not designed to deal with real sin. They knew God was a God of love and compassion and circumstances in life would occur when you just had to ask for forgiveness. God would expiate and make the situation right. It is God who pays the price for keeping the relationship going by willingness to forgive. PPC is a community were “…we can trust everything he does”. We can do this because we know God’s love and as the body of Christ we willingly respond to a God willing to sacrifice himself to us.