Please go to this link https://www.cbwc.ca/content/view/1617/332/ and read about the outstanding Banff Conference this November. You’ll be delighted with what you find.
I will get to the rather unusual title for today’s talk, but before I do I want to introduce you to some of the themes for the summer newsletters. I have found these themes coming out of my own daily quiet time. It has occurred to me that they could be important for our summer reflective reading as we speak about formative spiritual topics. I also felt that these summer topics might feed and stimulate thought as we prepare for the fall. An old Anglican priest I knew, named Archie Pell, once announced in the first week of September many years ago “As any child knows, Labour day is the beginning of the new year”. So along with these reflections and a few pieces of news, might we all prepare for the New Year, which is less than 6 weeks away. These topics will include: Forgiveness, Commitment, Conversion Story, Gratefulness, The Calling to Work, New Beginnings, Terror and My Part in That (The 10th Anniversary of 9/11), and finally well into September, The Camping Report.
I thought it appropriate to talk about spiritual battle and conflict because two weeks ago we talked about how to enumerate (count those) who are a part of us. There is a concern that has sprung out of North American Christianity, and it’s international franchises, that numbers are all important. Jesus said, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When I was at Fuller Seminary in California, the not-so funny joke was, “What Jesus really meant was: When two or three thousand are gathered in my name….”. I have seen the triumphalism and condescension of the very large church and of the very small. We need to be open to how God uses us in both contexts; we need to be willing to part of either. I pray that we will have healthy versions of the church in any size, shape, or style of worship. My concern is that numbers obsess us, and we forget the scripture verse: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). Care should be taken that the terms “principalities and powers” does not land up demonizing others. I think you understand the balance that is trying to be struck here. I want to quote a paragraph from the Celtic Book of Prayer, pg. 443, that refers to Coventry Cathedral in England and in a symbolic and folksy way makes the point of the Ephesians passage:
Coventry Cathedral was very badly damaged by bombing in World War II and the ruins now stand alongside the beautiful modern cathedral that draws so many visitors to wonder at it. It has many remarkable features: stained glass windows, a twisted cross of metal. But on the outside wall is the amazing sculpture of Michael the Archangel subduing the fallen Lucifer!
Satan, in case you want me
then you will find me
in the Presence of God,
and in that presence you cannot follow
‘cos I’ll be resting
in the Spirit of God,
and there is no fellowship
twixt darkness and light;
and there is no compromise
twist wrong and right.
I’m gonna keep my life bright!
Satan, you’re not forgotten,
we’re out to get you, so tell me
how does it feel?
Have you seen Coventry – at the Cathedral?
there is an angel,
and you are under his heel.
From Star Wars of Darkness and Light
By Bill Davidson
So, in the last three weeks we have spoken on numbers and their value, we have recounted SERVE and the faithfulness of God, and today we have touched on the full nature of spiritual conflict.
Peace be with you.