From the chair:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
As I read this passage this morning, I was struck by the announcement in verse 11–this is about as bold and straightforward a description of Jesus as one could make: He fulfills the promise to David. He saves his people. He is the Christ. He is both our Lord and the LORD (i.e., God’s “name” in the Old Testament). I, for one, believe it. I believe it, because the Church believes it. The Church believes it, because it believes that Luke said it. Luke said it, because he believed that the angel said it. I believe the angel said it because I believe that God says this to us in his word today.
From the desk:
The sweet words
Of Christian promise, words that even yet
Might stem destruction, were they wisely preached,
Are muttered o’er by men, whose tones proclaim
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade:
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth.
Oh! blasphemous! the Book of Life is made
A superstitious instrument, on which
We gabble o’er the oaths we mean to break
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Fears in Solitude”
This isn’t really from the desk; it’s actually “from the bus,” but today I considered it as an opening muse for tomorrow’s presentation. Though I decided to open with a different text, it still strikes me. In this poem, Coleridge is thinking in a peaceful-seeming field, but his thoughts eventually turn to the atrocities his country is committing, unseen. I don’t really know what Coleridge himself believed about God, but he clearly believed that the Christian pulpit could have done much for justice than it did in his day, and I think all of us should heed that challenge in our own sermons, ministries, and lives.
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.