Friday, July 23, 2010

NT Wright rocks

So... I'm finally getting a blog post up sometime this century... (WARNING: this blog will soon become overrun by baby pictures and the gushing of a new father... 2 weeks today till the due date!)

I'm ever so slowly getting some reading done in the large stack of books on the edge of my office bookshelf consisting of books I've bought in the last four years but not yet read. Right now it's N.T. Wright's classic - Following Jesus

I've just read the first chapter so far, but it's been awesome. He discusses a different biblical passage (or entire book) in each chapter, as it pertains to who is Jesus is and what it means to follow him.

This first chapter consists mostly of an overview of the book of Hebrews... that's right, the NT book considered so difficult to understand that Michael Card waited to do it last in his series of albums based on books of the bible, even after Revelation. Yet Wright makes it so understandable.

Here's what rocked me about Wright's explanation of Hebrews:
"Look at it from the viewpoint of a wider biblical theology. God chose the human race to be the priests of all creation, offering up creation's worship to him and bringing his wise order to it. When humans sinned, God chose the nation of Israel to be the priests of the human race, offering up human praise and putting into operation God's solution to the problem of sin. Israel herself, however, was sinful; God chose a family of priests (the sons of Aaron) to be priests to the nation of priests. The priests themselves failed in their task; God sent his own Son to be both priest and sacrifice. The inverted pyramid of priesthood gets narrower and narrower until it reaches one point, and the point is Jesus on the cross. The sacrifice of Jesus is the moment when the human race, in the person of a single man, offers itself fully to the creator."

I love this! And one of the things I love about it, is that I think Wright's "inverted pyramid" of the whole arc of biblical theology can be expanded back out again in a chiastic form (like an hour glass, or this shape ><>

I remember fondly every year I worked at Calvin Crest the end of the staff orientation week, when in a worship service the summer staff were commissioned by the executive staff and camp board members with a litany that included these words from 1st Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."

The whole story of the Bible--the entirety of salvation history--comes down to the single point of Jesus, God in the flesh, on the cross. But like the BIG BANG, that single point explodes outward with the power of the resurrection, the commissioning of the disciples, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church, the expansion of the Gospel, and now our participation--in Christ--in God's mission to the world! Because Christ is our one priest and sacrifice, in Christ we who follow him are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, lifting up a living sacrifice--love of God and love of neighbor--by the grace of our Loving Savior!

Cool beans.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Drinking from a fire hose

My good friend, Steve Goodenberger (who've I've been blessed to see while here at the Calvin Worship Symposium), asked me, "So, do you have that drinking from a fire-hose feeling yet?" ... And he asked me that in the middle of the afternoon on THURSDAY... the first day of this three-day symposium!

Today has been very rich... but too rich for me to really try to regurgitate at a quarter till midnight with another long day and long drive coming tomorrow.

So, until I have opportunity to put more thoughts to pixels on the worship experiences of this day and on the wonderful content from Laura Truax, Jeremy Begbie, Dale Bruner (again!) and Marva Dawn... I'll direct you to my twitter page (@lukehyder) for the brief thoughts that caught my ear throughout the day (and which you can follow tomorrow for continued updates!), and then leave you with a quote to ponder from Jeremy Begbie (actually, Begbie was quoting someone else, but I didn't get the reference):

The rhythm of worship at its deepest: "Church is where the Son's journey from the Father's heart into death and hell, and back again, is lived out."

Grace and peace,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sympo times are here again

Well it's that time of year again... the annual migration of worship-minded church folk to the frigid confines of Grand Rapids, MI, in January. It can only mean one thing: Worship Symposium 2010!

For the past several years I have tried to provide myself an opportunity to process my experiences here on this blog. While there have been some good moments, I have not been totally consistent.

So, this year I have crossed over the "dark-side" ... yes, Twitter.

I'll be tweeting my way (via wifi when I have it, cell phone when I don't) through the symposium--in fact I've already started with a bunch of Dale Bruner quotes and other tweets today!--so if you are on twitter and want to track with what's going on here at Calvin, follow @lukehyder, and/or search for the symposium feed: #wsymp10

Here's hoping that I can be more consistent with just 140 characters at a time instead of freezing up when I can't find the time to process every session in long-form on this blog.

While I'm here, some highlights from today... the theme of the whole conference is the Great Stories of the Old Testament, as framed by Hebrews 11 (so far in worship) and then the texts themselves.

Niel Plantinga preached this morning on Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1-16) - "A Mark of Grace":

"Cain doesn't want to obey God... but he doesn't want to lose Him either... (He can't live with him, can't live without Him."

Re: Cain's punishment from God... "God marks a killer not only with shame, but also with grace."

"All of us are as guilty as Cain, and through Christ all of us are as innocent as Abel."

Fave song moment from morning worship:
"From the first light of the garden to the endless city's rays, / God in mercy has been calling, and we'll answer Him in praise." (from new song, "A Mark of Grace" by Greg Scheer, 2009)

My Afternoon Seminar... the entire Gospel of John in 4 hours with Dale Bruner:
Ahhh.... Bruner quotes... I've missed Bruner quotes...

"Jesus of Nazareth is the autobiography of God."

"What the audible word is to the inaudible thought, the incarnate Word is to the invisible God." (from a woman in a Sunday School class he taught)

Re: when jesus spoke Mary's name after his ressurection... "world history moved from BC to AD right there!"

More tomorrow, including Marva Dawn, more Bruner (the Beattitudes!), Todd Johnson, Rich Mouw, and hopefully some nuggets from the worship gatherings as well.

The late-afternoon Vespers that was the all-Getty service (with Keith and Kristyn live!) was fantastic. As a new father-to-be, I lost it on the line from the well-known "In Christ Alone" ... "from life's first cry, to final breath" ... I was a goner for the rest of the song.

If you'd rather get a real look at what's going on here at Calvin (instead of taking my word for it!), you can follow live video feeds of all the morning (8:30am) and evening (7:30pm) worship services, as well as the 10am morning Plenary sessions with Jeremy Begbie, all from the Sympo 2010 website.

Till tomorrow... Grace and peace.