Disassociating Oneself From the Modern World

Howdy,

These last several Tuesday posts have been somewhat connected, but also a bit all over the place. In many ways it is easier to just write kind of stream-of-conscience based on nothing more than what I have been thinking about or spurred on by an idea I recently read somewhere. We have had series here and there, and there is certainly some utility to organized, strategic, week-by-week working out of the deeper answers to life’s questions. At times though it is good to just take a moment to reflect on what’s happening, because I have a feeling that our lives are not that much different from one another. Our battles may seem distinct, however, we have the same peace.

One of the cool things about the Christian religion is that a calling like Galatians 6:2 to, “Bear one another’s burdens” means that there is supposed to be an inborn community of faith where we can all go to just receive a blessed place of presence. An annoying habit some have is that when they hear of a trial that an individual or a family is going through they think they need to not come along side, but instruct. They think they are being helpful. They are not. The Martha/Mary principle is something Jesus brings to our attention primarily due to the fact that we all think we are Mary, when in reality we often are more in Martha’s camp. Always have to be doing when often what people really need in crisis is silence. They just need to know you are there, and since we are believers in prayer, we are to be taking advantage of the access you have to the Lord of Glory to cry out in hope to the only one able to do anything about the situation. “Be Still and know that I am God.” is our hope.

The reason why we struggle with that, remembering the power of prayer, can be from the fact we ourselves do not practice it, at least not with any regularity. We pray at stop lights, during games of sport on the television, or only at a last gap effort to get the mower to turn over. So much of what Christ has given us in His grace is born out of the ordinary, daily means of His love. When Anna sought the Messiah she did so by faithfully attending to the temple in Jerusalem every day and when the time came and Jesus was presented to her she was ready, because she made ready.

As you may have noticed the tagline of this Substack is “Presbyterianism, Agrarianism, and Tradition”. These all have something in common. The first is the order of the Church, the second is an outlook on life, and the last is a calm consideration of the reasons why we do what we do. While I haven’t written much directly about the middle one as much as the other two it is without a doubt infused into everything we talk about in this prayer and worship help. I’m a good ole boy who grew up in the mountains, in largely dying communities wore out by the industrial booms and busts of the twentieth century. Ever since the steam engine was perfected, and really even before that, back when waterpower was first harnessed to turn the gears of the engine of the looms of Manchester in the eighteenth century there have been voices concerned about societal changes happening due to the rapid acceleration of life. Part of the beauty of Presbyterianism in relation to this is that it asks of us to be patient, and to rest in the order of the rhythms of care.

We, regrettably in my estimation, do not spend enough time in the church asking similar questions about our own cultural captivity to the world around us. It’s worth taking a moment to consider whether or not it is us that need to be conformed to the cadence of a biblical life, rather than the people of God needing to find a way to marry capitalistic progress with the spiritual, and calm demands of biblical portions of time. Or as Roger Waters once wrote:

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older,  shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.

Maybe it’s the curse of middle age, but to be a little more sanctified in our reasoning here I want to turn to the very beginning of the Bible to reason out some of the aspects of what is being warned against. In the days after the Fall of Adam Cain’s descendants begin to spread around the earth. It is said in Genesis 4 that the first thing he did after his son Enoch was born was to build a city. Now, this isn’t a screed against people congregating together in small spaces, there is nothing sinful about your metropolis. However, it does point to something about the trajectory of wicked men from the very beginning. Enoch leads to Babel. The arrogance of man believing he has the power not only to control his life, but time itself. There is a humility involved in the way of living presented by agriculture that changes a person’s outlook, and only highlights our weakness in a manner that reduces us to our proper place in the Lord’s order. It forces us to be in mind that God is the sovereign. He may have given us a call to subdue and steward, yet that only happens well when you use the tools He has provided to sow and reap. To be sure there is no earthly (or heavenly) holiness made available through gardening and small livestock holds. It’s less about the outward, than the inward clock which gains us rest.

In closing, thanks for good-naturedly taking in this thought exercise as I in many ways shame myself for my lack of faith and trust in the ordinary, weekly, Sabbath-oriented pace of life. It is in the daily bread provided by Christ alone, in the Comforter’s gift of Mary’s honor of sitting at the feet of her Savior, listening as He spoke to her the words of plenty that we see how blessed we are to be reminded that our existence is not grounded in material wealth and rewards, but that which is made without hands, and which lasts despite the waves and storms of sin, and will be ours forevermore, because as the Psalmist declares, “. . . My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.“.

Another thought:

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/discernment-thinking-gods-thoughts

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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