gratitude & hoopla: Velvet Elvis, Marriage Encounter, and a Dwelling Place of God

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

18.10.05

Velvet Elvis, Marriage Encounter, and a Dwelling Place of God

I coined the expression "velvet elvisy" in my last post. If you've read the book by Rob Bell, you'll know what I mean. Seat of the pants definition: obsessively hip, generically gen-x, vaguely Christian, relentlessly self-referential (and self-reverential), uses the word "new" as if it were always inherently better than "old," and has nothing to do with Elvis Presley.

Yes, I'm reading the book, and actually I'm not totally disenchanted with it. My small group will be discussing it over the course of the next few weeks, and I suppose if we can get to some solid ground in that discussion the book will have served a purpose for us. Not that I recommend it, mind you. BTW, if anyone knows of a blogger who has discussed this book, please let me know in the comment box below. I'd like to find about what others are saying about it.

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Anybody know about Marriage Encounter weekends? My wife and I will be at one of these this coming weekend. So blogging will be out of the picture this next Friday to Sunday.

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I read Ezra 3 this morning. All of the returnees from exile gather in Jerusalem and reinstate the Temple practices (that is to say, the sacrificial system). Also, they begin to lay the foundations for the new Temple. It is perhaps hard for us to imagine how significant this day was to them.
And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away. Ezra 3:11-13
Shouts and weeping mingled together, and the combined sound is so loud that it was heard from a great distance away. I have two responses: 1) So much for the tendency of some to disparage emotionality. Forget it! We are made to be emotional. Our emotions can gush out of us, finding their expression at times in shouts, in weeping, in clapping hands and dancing. It's part of being human. 2) They were excited because the foundations of a lasting Temple had been laid. A building would insure longevity, and would stand as an impressive reminder of God's beneficence. But we who have been grafted into the Israel of old, we who have recognized in Jesus of Nazareth the promised messiah and have called Him Lord, we also live in a time of Temple construction. Truly, as in Ezra's day, the new foundation has been laid, the cornerstone has been set in place, and the walls are being raised even now.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Eph. 2:19-22
Praise the Lord with shouts and praise Him with tears, for He has laid the foundations, and He is building us even now, not merely as individuals, but as a people, into an eternal dwelling place for Himself. May the sound of our joyous shouting and weeping be heard from afar.

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