Monday, December 20, 2010

Now That Your Mouth Is On Fire...

Every Lord’s Day we confess that as we gather together in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this Triune God ushers us into His presence. We confess that we are gathered at this very moment in the Most Holy presence of the King of the Universe, and as Pastor Leithart has reminded us, that is why having entered this presence we sing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…” We join the choirs of angels, the seraphim shouting praises in this new temple of the Church, and our prayers arise like smoke and incense before the throne. And the King thunders His Word through the Scriptures and by the mighty working of His Spirit. Our worship participates in and enters into the heavenly worship that is always occurring. In this sense, our worship is always an Advent of the Lord, a coming of the King. When we gather together in His name, He comes as the great and high King, as the storm of His presence to commune with us. And just as Isaiah was cleansed and commissioned by the coal from the altar so too we are cleansed and commissioned by the burning life of God from this altar. Only now, our altar is the cross of Jesus, and He gives us His Spirit-filled life through these gifts of bread and wine as we share them together in faith. The Spirit-fire of God inhabits this meal, and as we eat this bread and drink this wine, our lips are cleansed and we are commissioned to be His servants in the world. And this means at least two things: first, this meal means that you are forgiven, you are cleansed, you are purged. Your sins are covered through the blood of the Lamb. But God is never satisfied with merely forgiving. As soon as He cleanses, He sends. As soon as He forgives, He commissions. And so as you take up these coals upon your lips believe the word of God: you are forgiven. And then search your hearts, who have you been called to speak to? Who must you take the word of God to? Your wife? Your children? Your neighbors? Your coworkers? To strangers in another land? At Pentecost the altar in heaven tipped over, and the Spirit-fire poured down on the Church, coals for every believer. And this means as you take this bread and wine upon your lips, the Lord is asking once again, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ As you eat and drink, the response of faith is always, ‘Here am I. Send me.’

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