Thursday, June 09, 2005

Legacy, Community, Culture. Vol. 1

Read the Prologue

. This Sunday our church will perform a mass blessing on our youth. The blessing, courtesy of our original youth pastor and now associate pastor, is from the book of Numbers. It is a blessing that God had commanded the priests give to all the children of Israel, the children of the promise.
'The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.'
So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them. (NKJV)

This would continue as a living reminder of the God who sees his people through and the people who live under his grace. Yet it's a fairly rare thing in the evangelical church. How we have managed to bypass generational blessings is indicative of our lack of understanding of other things being passed down through the generations. There is a serious and damaging gap, a chasm maybe, certainly a vacuum that will cease to exist for long. When something good is not moving through that passage, it leaves room for something less. And through that void, an old demon may step in, and in the process call along seven of his friends into the clean, swept house.

In other words, when there is not a generational blessing, there is a generational curse. And in my neck of the "concrete jungle" this is a substantial, lived reality. Lighted liquor stores line the streets alongside silent storefront churches and many architectural houses of God serve as backdrops for sellers selling and hustlers hustling. When the major economic engine of any given neighborhood is comprised of and fueled by illicit activities and death-bartering, we can guarantee that the Holy Sovereign is not shining his face upon us nor are we receiving his peace.

Everything that is borne is born in context. Nothing exists out of nothing unless God specifically calls it. Due to our free will, nearly everything we have been given is directly from the environment. (Everything good in the world points to the goodness of God, the original source. However, in the process of movement through a sullied creation, it has reached us sullied.) Nearly every voice that we hear or call that we obey - consciously or not - is a voice or call from the environment. What happens when, as is the case in the evangelical church, there is only a faint cry of support from a small, distant cloud of witnesses in direct competition with a world of divergent and demonic voices? Can the upward and onward call of the saints hold their own against the powers and principalities of the airwaves when they are so few? The church in context needs to support, undergird and pay homage to its legacy from God onward to the Jewish tradition, to Jesus, and to the Church as a living, breathing, moving being - the Kingdom of God. Certainly she needs to give honor where honor is due: to the ones who have passed before us and the ones who are going on before us.

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