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Mr. Lawrence Jones: “Living the Sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-5)

February 29, 2008

In our worship services we often ask that the Lord accept “our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice.”  I found the sermon Living the Sacrifice by Mr. Lawrence Jones (who, if you’ll recall, is a student at the REC’s Cranmer House) to be a good meditation on what this means.  He bases his message on Romans 12:1-5 and I thought this portion was quite helpful:

St. Benedict postulated that true Christianity is found in the ordinary.  It is tough to live in the ordinary, the daily grind wears you down sometimes, it really does, but that is where our commitment to the Lord is most consistently tested and although those instances often seem so mundane and so physical, let us remember that we should not fall prey to the compartmentalization of our post-Christian neo-pagan culture, but rather we need to live in the understanding that the physical and spiritual are inexorably intertwined and cannot be separated.  Live sacramentally.  Each day give physical reality to the spiritual.  Your body is a temple?  Pass on that extra large ice cream and that pack of cigarettes.  Love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind?  Don’t pollute that mind with images of scantily clad bodies, whether they are found on television, the internet or the shopping mall.  Don’t curse that driver that cut you off, say a quick prayer for him, lest he or someone else be harmed by his driving.  Use your children’s complaints to teach them of others who do not have as much as we do and also to be thankful, praising God for what he has given us.  This is also spiritual service.  As is being here today, not only in the sense that you are worshiping in communion, but with every homily you hear in this environment you are granting us, the other seminary students, the freedom to try new styles and methods of preaching in a relatively safe environment before we are released into the wild.  Thank you for that, and consider that you are right now, this minute, rendering spiritual service to the Lord, to His Church, to me by way of that freedom and by extension, God willing, to every single parishioner I may ever have opportunity to preach to.  People you will probably never know, or even know of -think on that.  It is precisely because God’s plans are unfathomable we never really know how far our spiritual service will go, who it will ultimately impact or how; even those things we might consider the most mundane.

How true this is: that we should live sacrificially each day even in those things we might not think of as having spiritual value or heavenly worth.  Check out the rest of Lawrence’s sermon and see what you think.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. tanaudel permalink
    March 1, 2008 8:53 am

    This grates a bit, because I’ve seen the examples he has used abused. Not by him, but by others. It also seems to risk justifying sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake, rather than for the glory of God. But the reminder to live sacramentally all the time is good to hear.

    The phrasing “reasonable… sacrifice” is one I’m not used to hearing, but it makes me think because I use the word “reasonable” very frequently at work and this is obviously a different meaning. I assume it does not mean to apply the test of “what would a reasonable person would consider a sacrifice?” but rather to consciously and with full application of reason make such sacrifice?

  2. March 1, 2008 10:11 am

    Kathleen,

    You have a good point about it being possible to misapply this concept, if I am reading you correctly. I do know it would be very possible to cross the boundary into legalism about how we live. Hopefully we can seek to live sacramentally for the glory of God rather than cross into legalism.

    You know, that term “reasonable” is actually a translation issue. The phrase comes from Romans 12:1-2:

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    The KJV renders the Greek word λογικός as “reasonable” but the word logikos has several possible nuances: (from http://bible.crosswalk.com)
    1. pertaining to speech or speaking
    2. pertaining to the reason or logic
    a) spiritual, pertaining to the soul
    b) agreeable to reason, following reason, reasonable, logical

    So–my own interpretation of the word “reasonable” in that context you ask about tends to follow some of the more recent Bible translations: I read “reasonable” as “spiritual”. (Examples would be Romans 12:1 in the NASB or RSV versions.) I’d concur very much with your wording of “consciously and with full application of reason make such sacrifice” as I think it would fit the overall meaning of Romans 12:1 very well.

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