May 9, 2020

Two Degrees of Separation


What happened Saturday morning.

It started with me… wrestling with the scriptures this week. (Actually, the last several weeks.) This Socially Distant preaching has been difficult, but now I have an opportunity to preach to people directly, and it feels just as difficult, mostly because I’ve been away! (Out of practice.)

Saturday Morning... I had already studied, read the commentaries, wrestled some more… but Saturday morning, I still felt unsettled in my choice of what to preach on. I had gotten up and while I was sitting in my chair, sipping my coffee, I prayed and started this way, “Lord, I wish you would just tell me what to say. Cause I would say it. Seriously. If you just told me what to say, I would say it.”

A little secret insight on me: Sometimes I will pray and instead of asking for something, I will say, "I wish."  I do this when there is something that I would like, but I don't believe I necessarily ought to be asking for it... but I still want to ask for it. I still sorta hope I could ask for it. That is what I was doing this morning. But then I sat there for a moment, and I adjusted my prayer… “ No… Not ‘I wish’ that isn’t what I mean. I usually say, ‘I wish’ when I’m not really asking for it, I just want it. This time I mean it, I am asking for that. Just tell me what to say, that is what I ask. I’ll say it!”

I finished my coffee and sat there for a couple more minutes.

Truth must be told, my next action was to head to the restroom. I grabbed my kindle on the way... sorry for the graphic mental image I am painting for you… but it must be told how this happened. I sat down. (Again, sorry.) I turned on my Kindle, and it loaded the book that I had been reading most recently: “When the Man Comes Around” a commentary on Revelation by Douglas Wilson. I picked it up and read this:
So this is how it works: Jesus speaks, and then He tells John to write what He has spoken. The implication is that the angel of the church is to speak what he has read. So Jesus speaks, John writes, the angel reads, and the angel speaks.
Alright… Just so you know the context… I had just read in this book previously:
So we know that the seven lampstands are the seven churches and that the Lord Jesus was walking around in the midst of His churches. The seven stars that He held in His right hand are the seven “messengers,” or pastors of these churches. The sword in His mouth is His Word, which He gives to the successive pastors in the upcoming passages.
That is the paragraph right before that little paragraph that I read. This means that the “angel” that John refers to in this portion of Revelation is the pastor of a church. Douglas Wilson writes in another portion of the book (explaining in more detail): 
The word angel need not refer to what we would call an angelic or celestial being. John the Baptist was called an angel (Mark 1:2). Human beings are called angels in the Old Testament also (Job 1:14; Is. 42:19; Mal. 2:7; 3:1). And the word is used by Luke to refer to ordinary messengers. Jesus “sent messengers (angels) before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him” (Luke 9:52; cf. 7:24). Now of course it is possible that the angels of the first chapters of Revelation are celestial beings, but in my view this creates many more problems than it solves.
I knew this about Revelation, so I understood that idea when I read my little paragraph. I read "angel" but thought "pastor" when I was reading that... that little paragraph that I am beginning to believe God had queued up just for me. I think you should read it again, but this time, take into consideration a couple of things. One: I had just been praying, “God, please just tell me what to say… Give me the words to speak.” That thought was still rolling around in my mind as I read that paragraph. And two: I was hearing "pastor" when I read "angel"... Here it is again:
So this is how it works: Jesus speaks, and then He tells John to write what He has spoken. The implication is that the angel [pastor] of the church is to speak what he has read. So Jesus speaks, John writes, the angel [pastor] reads, and the angel [pastor] speaks.
I’ve been reading all week… not knowing what to speak. I don’t want to oversimplify the process or underplay the importance of study and the ongoing development of improving my communication skills… but in a real way: Jesus speaks, the writers of scripture write, the pastor reads the scriptures, and then the pastor speaks.

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