Monday, November 10, 2008

Gazing Steadily on the Glory of Christ and Being Changed

We got the chance to hear a great sermon from Nate at the church yesterday. He spoke on Revelation 1:9-20. The main point was that we are changed by gazing steadily on the glory of Christ. In this passage John describes the beginning of his vision that was a revelation of Christ to the seven churches of Asia. It was encouraging to hear about the glory of Christ. As we look on Him we are struck dead and renewed through His Spirit. He is the one we turn to for wisdom and rely upon for deliverance and judgment. He is the one we seek to emulate in our lives. He is the one whose words are a sharp two-edged sword that divides between bone and marrow and soul and spirit yet bring life in obedience. He is the one whose eyes see straight to the heart and see both the good and the sin that lives there. He is the first and the last, and the author and finisher of our faith. It was especially inspiring to hear how He will meet and renew us in our worship.

During the communion time we sang Ryan Flanigan's song, "Up from the fall". As I broke the bread and repeated to myself the words "On the night in which Jesus was betrayed" and thought how I had betrayed Him I also remembered the words of the Eastern Orthodox communion liturgy "Or rather, the night in which He gave Himself for us all." As I thought that, the worship team sang the words "I have nothing to give to you, but Jesus came and He gave it all." I was struck by how I truly have nothing to offer God but what He has first given me. Then as I reflected on the cup and the words, "This is my blood of the new covenant poured out for the forgiveness of sins," the worship team finished the verse of the song, "He takes our blame and up from the fall we rise in Christ." Somehow I felt Jesus inviting me to drink up, to drink a cup of joy and celebration like a shot at a party. Instead of drinking as repentance it became a drink of affirmation of the pure, new life in Him.

The remainder of our worship continued in that vein, alternating joy and repentance with words from Lord calling us to enter deeper into worship and expect His presence among us. We ended with a call for all who wished to come and pray for a renewal of His presence in our church. We prayed for another half hour after the service. It was a great morning.

"And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect His glory even more." 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Good Movie Night

Friday night the College Union at Trinity rented a screen at a local movie theatre. They showed The Fellowship of the Ring. Dr. Fratt from the college gave a short introduction beforehand and there was a trivia contest wherein I won a Starbuck's gift card and bag of skittles bite size candies (Taste the rainbow) for knowing the name of Tom Bombadil's wife. I was astounded at how much the movie affected me. It has been 59 months since I last saw FotR in the theatre (special showing of FotR extended ed. up in Wisconsin on the way to which I got my first speeding ticket). I was blown away by what an amazing film it is. I've come to realize that I think it is my favorite of the LotR movies even though RotK got all the Oscars. There's just something about seeing Rivendell and Lothlorien (even the brief glimple you get in the theatrical ed.), the Argonath and hearing Saruman welcome Gandalf to Isengard, Boromir's death and Sam's devotion. I loved it. For the first time I noticed the village of Bree behind the Hobbits as they head into the wilderness between Bree and Weathertop. I also noticed the chimes as they approach Lothlorien. It's hard to believe that after seeing the movie as often as I have in the theatre and on DVD there were still things I'd never noticed but these were new to me. I also enjoyed some of the filming errors that were mostly edited out of the DVD's, like the Nazgul's horse materializing out of nothing behind the tree the Hobbits are hiding under and car that drives by while Frodo and Sam are in the cornfield. The icing on the cake was that it was the version of Fellowship from late in the theatrical run that included the extended trailer for The Two Towers. That was a real bonus but a little bittersweet. There are shots of scenes in that trailer that never made it into even the extended ed's of TTT and RotK. That trailer gives you a vision of movies to come that are greater still than what came. The LotR theatrical trilogy is greater than all other movies combined and cubed but the extended TTT trailer shows a glimpse of how great they could have been. Still I just sat there and listed to "May It Be" and "In Dreams" over the credits and nearly wept with joy at what I'd just seen. The plan is to do the same thing with TTT and RotK next semester. I can't wait. Until then I'll have to console myself with my friend Sarah's LotR marathon in two weeks after Turkey Bowl VIII.