Mar 122010
 

We need a new Christian holiday.

We need to establish some day in every year that the people of God set aside for repenting of relational offenses and seeking forgiveness.

We could make as big a deal out of it as we do Christmas or Easter…plan for it, get our lists ready so to speak, and then enjoy the relief and joy that comes through restored relationships.

We can call it “Restoration Day”.

Yes, I know we’re supposed to do this every day…but we don’t.

Just as Christmas gives folks who aren’t bent to expressing love an excuse to do so, “Restoration Day” could provide the prideful with an excuse to get right with God and others.

Since we have been talking about a badly dysfunctional and abusive situation in a church family, we’ve received many more stories of the same.

How much better for the kingdom and those involved would it be if repentance and forgiveness were the hope instead of having to write a book or a blog to resolve the situation?

“Restoration Day” will never get on the official calendar..but it really needs to be on mine and yours.

Some folks need to schedule it immediately…

  No Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Excellent idea, regardless of who’s first!

    Seeking restoration here with any and all I have personally offended or who have personally offended me. We can disagree about ideas and outlooks but each here is highly esteemed and valued as persons bearing the image of God.

  2. happy Restoration Day

  3. Do I get presents? 🙂

  4. noitrotseR yaD?… sey taht dluow nrut sgniht dnuora!

  5. I like the idea…

    Now I need to find someone to offend so I can truly celebrate the holiday.

  6. My Dad shared this with me and I had to pass it on.
    From Tim Keller’s “The Reason For God”, Historian George Marsden summarizing Jonathan Edwards on ‘Why would God create a world of beings like us?’ (and it’s really interesting when you consider that Edwards is best known for ‘sinners in the hands of an angry God’)
    quoting: The Dance of God / The Dance of Creation

    “Why would such an infinitely god, perfect, and eternal being create? Here Edwards drew on the Christian Trinitarian conception of God as essentially interpersonal . . . The ultimate reason that God creates, said Edwards, is not to remedy some lack in God, but to extend that perfect internal communication of the triune God’s goodness and love . . . God’s joy and happiness and delight in divine perfections is expressed externally by communicating that happiness and delight to created beings . . . The universe is an explosion of God’s glory. Perfect goodness, beauty, and love radiate from God and draw creatures to ever increasingly share in the Godhead’s joy and delight . . . The ultimate end of creation, then, is union in love between God and loving creatures.”

    Then Keller: “God did not create us to get the cosmic, infinite joy of mutual love and glorification, but to share it. We were made to join in the dance. If we will center our lives on him, serving him not out of self-interest, but just for the sake of who he is, for the sake of his beauty and glory, we will enter the dance and share in the joy and love he lives in. We were designed then not just for belief in God in some general way, nor for a vague kind of inspiration or spirituality. We were made to center our lives upon him, to make the purpose and passion of our lives knowing, serving, delighting, and resembling him. This growth in happiness will go on eternally, increasing unimaginably ( 1 Cor. 2.7-10)

    I really like this and it made my heart happy, so I thought I’d share with the group. 🙂

  7. edit, first sentence of quote ” . .. why would such a good, perfect . . .”

    whose fingers are these?

  8. Such a holiday already exists. We celebrated it a few weeks ago:

    http://www.frederica.com/writings/forgiveness-vespers2.html

  9. Josh,
    I will send you some people on my list (those I have offended) – heck, I even offend myself a couple of times a day.

    But I still need to know – do I get presents? those are great motivators for me to get in the spirit.

  10. If you give me some offended people, I’ll give you presents. We can turn it into a “selling indulgences” type situation. It will be all kinds of awesome.

    By the way – I guess this is an ok thread to bring it up, but after all the hype, is anyone else not satisfied with the ESV?

  11. From Xenias link…
    “On the first night of Lent, as Vespers comes to an end, my husband turns from the altar. He asks everyone to form a circle around the interior of the church, and when we’re in place, the person next to him—in this case, our son David—steps over to face his dad. My husband crosses himself, bows to David, then says, “Forgive me, my brother, for any way I have sinned against you. ” David says, “I forgive you,” and they embrace. Then it’s David’ s turn to bow to his dad and ask the same question, and receive the same forgiveness and embrace.

    The ancient rite of forgiveness has begun. David steps to the next person in line to repeat the exchange, and a different parishoner faces my husband; before the evening is over every single person here will have asked for and received forgiveness from every other.

    Orthodox Christians have done this for centuries, every year on the first night of Lent, to cleanse past wounds and allow a fresh start. When I next look up I see David embracing his younger brother Stephen. Where David is quiet-natured, a cool stream, Stephen is a geyser, full of passionate opinion, wide-flinging love and, not infrequently, anger. There were things to be forgiven there.

    At last the rite has reached my point in line, and one at a time I bow to people I worship with every week, looking each one in the eye. Each moment is intimate, and I feel on the wobbly border between embarassment, laughter and tears. When I ask 12-year-old Melanie to forgive me, she says, “Not that you’ve done anything, but okay.” Basil is giving out enveloping bear hugs with exclamations of “Praise Jesus! Praise Jesus!” Down the line, worshippers dip and bend as in a country dance.

    I come to my daughter Megan, who will be eighteen in a few days. She has made it safely to adulthood past an adolescence that had it rocky places; yes, there are things to forgive here too. I bow to her and manage to say, past the lump in my throat, “Megan, please forgive me for any way that I have offended you.” I could think of a million mistakes I had made. She looks at me, her lashes wet, and says, “I forgive you, Mom.” Then she bends to touch the floor and stands again, and says to me, “Please forgive me, Mom, for everything.”

    Can a mother do such a thing? You bet. A moment later we are in a marshmallowy embrace.

    Soon we are headed across the parking lot, the boys racing ahead. Megan puts her arm around me as we amble along, and I look up at a black sky spattered with stars. From this night to Easter morning a desert stretches, but it has begun with light.”

  12. Josh,

    I like the ESV a lot…the ESV Study Bible will be the standard for years.

  13. I like Xenia’s article. It is amazing how the American Church has gotten away from so many things that were built into worship through the Liturgy to cover all of this. Actually, the “meet & greet” part of the service (the fill time while the pastor gets up to the pulpit) was originally at the beginning of the service and it was the time that worshipers were to go to their neighbor, even if they sat on the opposite side of the building and to mend any differences that they may have before the worship began (at least to have it out of the way before communion.) In the Lutheran Church it is called The Peace, and it has been shortened to walking around and saying to each other “The Peace of the Lord be with you” and the reply would be either “The Peace of the Lord be with you also” or “ditto” (jk).

    But now a days, even with us salt water Lutherans it becomes greetings and fill time.

  14. I like the ESV as much as any other translation, but it is not extraordinary or anything special. And it is a heavy sucker – almost 2,500 pages.

    The Lutheran Study Bible uses the ESV as it’s text, but a big difference between it and the ESV Study Bible is that the notes and articles are correct. 😉

    http://www.amazon.com/Lutheran-Study-Bible-English-Standard/dp/0758617607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268417591&sr=8-1

  15. i’m sitting here (ignoring my useless new printer) and asking myself what is wrong with the rituals that express the realities of our faith… Xenia’s description of the Lenten forgiveness ritual is beautiful… my rebel protesting heart keeps beating…

    firstly, we shouldn’t need such a ritual (yes, we do seem to need it, tho)
    secondly, that ritual is only as good as the attitude (heart) of the participants (as described, it certainly did move to soften hearts to the reality)
    thirdly, i’m afraid that the church as a whole would soon descend into a day of giving presents to atone for offenses – in some cases that would be good 😉
    fourthly, i’m all pondered out now

  16. Restoration Day…or Restoration Daily…I hope for that very much…and pray for it.

  17. As I read Xenia’s account, I had tears in my eyes. Oh how I pray for such a day in my own circle…

  18. MLD,”The Lutheran Study Bible uses the ESV as it’s text, but a big difference between it and the ESV Study Bible is that the notes and articles are correct. ”

    is that said with pride or humility? 😆

  19. Eggs for Easter. Gifts for Christmas…hmmm. I think I’ll stick to the Holy Ghost and the conviction of my heart to repentence. It’s more timely and I get the point more quickly. On the other hand, getting another self-indulgent holiday might balance out the year of over comercialized former christian holidays. Boy, I’m in a bad mood. I think I’ll hit the prayer closet…REPENT and ask GOD’s FORGIVENESS.

  20. The ESV to me is not bad at all, but where it excels in language translation, it fails in “modern” translation. I have been reading it side-by-side with the KJV, and there isn’t a great deal of difference. I find myself more and more enjoying the HCSB. ESV has fallen to 2nd, KJV 3rd, NLT 4th, NIV 5th.

    Nascar bible is moving up fast though.

  21. Psalmy, I understand your reservations. 🙂

    Let me just say this. If the Church is (among other things) an educational institution, there are many ways to educate people besides Bible study.

    People often say to me, regarding Lent, “Why do you need a special season for fasting? You can fast anytime you want to.” True, but before I learned about Lent, I NEVER fasted. The Church has taught me how to fast, something I didn’t know how to do before.

    People will look at my morning and evening prayer rule and say “Why so rigid? You can pray anytime you want to.” True, and I do. But before I was introduced to the joy of a prayer rule my prayer life was totally chaotic and for the most part, non-existent. The Church taught me how to pray.

    And so it is with Forgiveness Vespers. I should continually be forgiving people as the opportunity arises, and of course, I try to. But often I miss the opportunity, out of carelessness, apathy, or pride. This simple little ritual helps us overcome the obstacles. It teaches us how to forgive folks in a simple, non-threatening way.

    So it is with many disciplines of the Christian life. I could do it all on my own without the ancient rituals but the truth is, I seldom did. I am thankful for these liturgical training wheels.

    But you are right. If done with a cold heart, what good is it. But sometimes the very act of participating can warm up a cold heart!

  22. psalm,
    “is that said with pride or humility?”

    accuracy 😉

  23. The Democrats must be reading PP.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1242

  24. After my last post its obvious that I haven’t read PP. 😳

  25. Rob Murphy,

    Thanks for sharing this encouragement with us!

    “Then Keller: “God did not create us to get the cosmic, infinite joy of mutual love and glorification, but to share it. We were made to join in the dance. If we will center our lives on him, serving him not out of self-interest, but just for the sake of who he is, for the sake of his beauty and glory, we will enter the dance and share in the joy and love he lives in. We were designed then not just for belief in God in some general way, nor for a vague kind of inspiration or spirituality. We were made to center our lives upon him, to make the purpose and passion of our lives knowing, serving, delighting, and resembling him. This growth in happiness will go on eternally, increasing unimaginably ( 1 Cor. 2.7-10)”

    We were made to center our lives upon Him, to make the purpose and passion of our lives knowing, serving, delighting, and resembling Him. This growth in happiness will go on eternally,increasing unimaginably.

    The truths that Xenia talks about,
    such as this one example:

    “And so it is with Forgiveness Vespers. I should continually be forgiving people as the opportunity arises, and of course, I try to. But often I miss the opportunity, out of carelessness, apathy, or pride. This simple little ritual helps us overcome the obstacles. It teaches us how to forgive folks in a simple, non-threatening way.

    So it is with many disciplines of the Christian life. I could do it all on my own without the ancient rituals but the truth is, I seldom did. I am thankful for these liturgical training wheels.”

    the disciplines taught through the liturgy and rituals of the church ( many which are not practiced generally in evangelical churches, etc… these things that we should but dont normally think to do on our own, go a long way to help us develope the growth in Christian happiness, in knowing, delighting in Our Lord.

  26. But you are right. If done with a cold heart, what good is it. But sometimes the very act of participating can warm up a cold heart!

    Xenia,
    Fully agreed…sometimes the very act of participating warms a cold heart, and a;ll the more reason to pray!

    There is much instruction in ” A serious call to a devout and holy life” in the matters which you are sharing. The spirit of devotion, the author writes is developed and much like any other sense or understanding, is improved by study, care, application, and the use of such means and helps to make a man proficient in any art or science.

    its amazing to see how many men and women are so very eager employ their energies in time, study, with intensive training in so many worldly disciplines and are commended for doing so in; entertainments, sports, business, etc. and yet fail to apply the same diligence to the art of prayer, forgiveness, devotion, obedience and piety…

    Listen to this in respect to your statement above:

    The soul and body are so united that they each have power over one another in their actions. Certain thoughts and sentiments of the soul produce certain motions and actions in the body, and on the other hand, certain actions of the body have the same power of riasing certain actions in the soul.

    So that, as singing [psalms] is the natural result of joy in the mind,
    so it is singing [psalms] cause of raising joy in the mind

    As devotion of the heart naturally breaks out into outward acts of prayer
    So outward acts of prayer are natural means of raising the devotion of the heart.

    As anger produces angry words, likewise angry words give rise to more anger

    even so singing and chanting psalms is proper and necessary for raising our hearts to delight in God
    as prayer is the proper and necessary act to raise our hearts in a spirit of devotion.

    This is particularly encouraging to me in that,
    in as such times as my heart does not soar with devotion, or when my heart is heavy and the motion to pray is dull… Still making that effort to pray, to sing psalms, does promote a spirit of praise and devotion.

    Even as you shared about doing good even when our motives seem lacking,
    Its does us good and others good to do so, even if we dont always feel initially joyfull about doing it.

  27. reading the above wisdom and it occurs to me that i can’t think of any Scripture that instructs us to not do good unless we ‘feel’ like it … i’m sure that i am way more than a little guilty of ‘passing by on the other side of the road’…

    i hope that those good men (and women one time, too) that, over the years, stopped to help me or my daughters with car problems received more blessing than just my heart felt ‘thank you.’ How often did i pray in remembrance? not very often

    BTW? cars don’t break down as much as they used to, it seems to me – dunno

    back to finishing my taxes up with a grateful heart, believe it or not – praying that God will give those in authority wisdom and a conscience as they allocate our hard earned dollars

  28. Just read X’s link that Michael posted…wow, that is beautiful.

  29. There’s a discussion on The Shack going on at my church’s The City site. Same arguments down both sides that were made here. I jumped in to the discussion.

    …now perhaps I need to pick up the book and read it… 😉

  30. We could do it every year at Daylight Saving time!

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