Tag Archive | ministry

The Anointing: Isaiah 61

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me,
He has anointed me to preach good news to the [poor]*;
He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…
[and the day of the vengeance of our God];
To comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified…”


 

At Elim this morning, the sermon was on the topic of “The Anointing”, based on Isaiah 61:1-2a, the first part quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:18,19, with the exception of “the day of vengeance of our god”.

I’m just going to copy up my notes without comment to begin with, and then comment at the end.


Notes:

• This passage is a ‘key scripture’ for Jesus’ life and ministry (and has been adopted as a key scripture for our church in particular).

• The anointing is crucial for ministry

• Oil, or fat, represents the Holy Spirit

• Like the armour of God, you can’t attain it by your own efforts, it has to be given by the Anointed One, ie, Jesus.

• Anointing breaks the yoke of slavery.

• Anointing can’t be lost, but it can be exercised, it must be developed.

• For the Anointing to flow, you need to live righteously.

• The Anointing is ‘attracted’ to righteous living.

• The first step towards righteous living is honesty with God, confession, truth.

• Then, the anointing will bubble up and flow over.

• The Anointing desires intimacy with the Father.

• Oil is for healing.

• We must exercise the anointing by doing the following:

-Proclaim the Good News
(not negativity) because Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

-Proclaim Liberty

-Release the prisoners

-Give Sight to the Blind

• This is the agenda for Jesus’ life, and must be the agenda for the church.

• It is the plum line for all church programs – if they don’t meet the agenda, it’s not worth doing.


Comments:

I suspect, from the sermons I have heard in this church, that this is the standard way that scripture is handled here, and I have to say that I’m feeling a little bit uncomfortable about some aspects of it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with what was said. It was a pretty ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon, and I quite like the passion of that. The speaker is fond of shouting “Wake up, Church” when he thinks we’re not listening.

But I wish that there was a bit more careful exposition – it’s obviously a Messianic passage, but again if you look at the whole passage you can see the mention of Zion again, and there is a lot more to the whole chapter but only the first 2 verses were addressed (see previous post on Isaiah 2).

Who is the passage addressed to?
Who or what does Zion refer to in this context?
When is the prophecy to be fulfilled?

Does the fact that Jesus stopped prior to “the day of the vengeance of our God” mean that there are multiple, partial fullfillments to this propecy?
When is the Day of Vengeance?
Is it significant that some of the good things come after the Day of Vengeance in the passage?
(Again, this was not mentioned at all. Does it matter?)

The speaker said that, in the Old Testament, one individual was specially anointed (like Isaiah or Ezekiel), whereas in the New Testament, every believer is anointed (Acts 2). Therefore, you (as a Christian) already have the anointing, you just have to exercise it.

So, is the Pentecost infilling of the Holy Spirit the same thing as Anointing?

This is interesting to me, because previously I have heard sermons saying the opposite, ie that the Anointing is something special, particularly for ministers, who have a particular, perhaps temporary anointing for a specific task or work of God.

Perhaps both are true. I’m not sure, I would like to know on what basis the two different claims are made (ie, more thorough scripture proofs), as they don’t seem to mean quite the same thing.

The very word Messiah, Mashiach in Hebrew, actually means ‘anointed’. Is that relevant at all?

I have a book on my shelf (or, I suspect, currently in storage with the rest of my books) called ‘The Anointing’ by R T Kendall, which I haven’t yet read, but I would like to. I don’t know whether it covers the first or second meaning or both, or takes a different view altogether.

*Where the KJV has the word ‘meek’, the NIV has the word ‘poor’.


I don’t know whether I am being unreasonably or unduly critical, or whether that may be due to my state of mind because I’m not well, as it takes a lot out of me to get to church.

I was a little bit heartbroken today to hear that the church had purposely decided to abandon their ministry websites, so there is no longer any provision for those who are housebound to download and listen to sermons online. As far as I could see, the sermons are no longer recorded so it doesn’t look like there’s a tape/cd ministry anymore either.

I really think that churches are unaware of how devastating the isolation from the community is for people who become housebound, and that really, really makes me sad.

When I had a relapse in 2014, I had no visits whatsoever from anybody in the Anglican church in more than six months, despite requesting one, and despite every level of the church being aware I was ill. (It’s not the first church that has happened in either.)

At some point I will put together a list of resources for people who need to worship from home, as that seems to be the only option for a lot of people. But it is really not the same as feeling that you are welcomed and included in your own physical, local community.

***This, church, is part of the ministry of the Anointing, to “proclaim liberty to the captives”, and you’re not doing it.***

Wake up, Church!

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It’s Complicated…

torah1

I met with a lady yesterday, Alison, a newly ordained Deacon in the Church of England. One of the things that were on my list of things to do was to find myself a ‘Spiritual Director’ or mentor.  We had an amazing couple of things in common, one of which was home education – she had home educated her children (what are the chances?!).

She was very encouraging, and talked about how long and hard she had needed to fight in order to get to ordination.

“Don’t let them discourage you”, she said.

When she asked me about my vocation, and why the Church of England, I was able to say immediately how and why I felt I had been called, and why I am in the CofE. She said that I articulated that very well, which rather tickled me, as I did rather make it up on the spot.

But when she asked me why the Priesthood, as opposed to any other kind of Christian ministry, I was a little bit stumped. I tend to believe quite strongly in the Priesthood of all believers, which we discussed, and we agreed that this is a good argument in favour of women leaders / ministers / Priests.

But I realised that I do need to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Priest.

And I also realised that I am fudging things a bit. I am still Messianic, I am still evangelical. In fact, in many ways, I am still conservative, and as much as I embrace the traditionally liberal qualities of love, tolerance and social justice, I don’t think that will change. I don’t think those ‘liberal’ qualities are at all inconsistent with a conservative view of scripture.

But can I be consistent as a conservative, Messianic Jewish, evangelical, (Salvationist?!) not-really-feminist, woman Priest in the Church of England?

I don’t know. I hear the call, but I don’t know where it’s leading me. No decisions need to be made at this point; I am on a journey, so I will just keep taking small steps forward, and trust that I am following the right path.

I didn’t discuss all of these things with Alison. I think that, although I am keen to meet with her again, I really need to find somebody else to be a real ‘mentor’, even if she is willing to fulfill the official role of ‘Spiritual Director’. But I really need somebody who is familiar with, or has grappled with the same issues as I have to deal with.

So if you know any other conservative, Messianic Jewish, evangelical, not-really-feminist, women Priests in the Church of England, do please send them my way! (The Salvationist element is optional) 🙂

 

 

 

 

Jag har haft fullt upp!

It has all fallen apart a bit. I tend to do this. I tend to take on so much that I burn out and end up not finishing anything. (Sigh) The title is a Swedish phrase, which means roughly ‘I have had a full schedule’, or ‘I’ve been super-busy’! 🙂

I have picked up a dozen or more books and started them, but not finished them. In fact, I took a bunch of half-read books back to the library yesterday. I’m trying not to kick myself about the Read52 challenge. I don’t think I could catch up now, unless I get credit for good intentions!

I’m also so far behind in the Bible in 90 Days challenge this time that I really have no hope (or intention, sorry) of catching up. I also got to the end of Job just feeling that I was getting very little out of it this time round. Last year I read through faithfully every day, and marked all the words of God in red, and anything else important (like repetition and themes) in blue, and I really loved it. I saw new things in it and I’m really glad I did it. But this time, I had already switched to listening on audio Bible by the time I got to Joshua instead of actually reading it, as I was finding it so… boring! I really don’t want to feel that way about Bible reading.

So actually I’m juggling. I have a lot of plates to spin – being a wife and ‘mum’ with ME, homeschooling, housework, study, and trying to set up a Ministry / Business. I have never managed to find a great balance between homeschooling and housework – when the children were young, I figured that if I managed to get out of bed and the children were basically washed and fed and clothed and happy, everything else could look after itself.

I have been wondering why I decided to take on the extra spinning plates of study and business. Maybe a psychoanalyst is called for – do I have some need to set myself up to fail? Actually, I think I’m pretty driven, perhaps I need to prove myself in some way (I’m not sure to whom though or why). But being driven and fighting ME is a pretty tough battle. Actually I have heard that there’s quite a bit of evidence that a lot of people who get ME are A-type personalities (I tried to look for a good article to link to but I couldn’t find one).

I have never quite learned to pace myself either. I always seem to need to start something new, take on a little bit more, work a little bit harder. I help out at Scouts and Guides in a limited capacity, I teach (Sunday School, very basic Hebrew, adult Bible Study, although actually I haven’t done any classes since we moved down here as there doesn’t seem to be any interest), I’m now involved with two churches, I study (and now I ‘have’ to be studying my OU course, just about everything else looks more interesting which is another challenge! I’m even trying to learn Cornish in my ‘spare time’!)

I constantly feel on the edge of relapse, but resting doesn’t help anyway. I figure that, if I’m going to feel desperately tired and in pain whether I rest or get on with it anyway, I might as well just get on with it. Thankfully my ME is not severe (although I have had a few bad patches, and poor husband always seems me at my worst as I’m always pretty wrecked by the end of the day). I still don’t want to accept that it is ME to be quite honest. I would much rather have something that’s easily fixable, curable. But I don’t go to the GP anymore. My current one is nicer and more helpful than previous ones, but he’s no help really. When the blood-tests always come back negative or ‘borderline’ there’s no clear direction on how to treat me. So until and unless I can’t, I keep on keeping on. I keep picking up books and starting them. I keep trying to read my Bible. I keep studying and writing and doing my little groups. The children are washed and clothed and fed and reasonably happy. That sounds like a good life to me 🙂