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The Rev. William Klock: “The Word: Opening Our Eyes to God’s Grace” (Psalm 119:73-80)

August 26, 2010

Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia is continuing a series of sermons on Psalm 119, and next in that series is The Word: Opening Our Eyes to God’s Grace which is based on Psalm 119:73-80.  There is a lot to be appreciated in this sermon – Fr. Bill has some great thoughts on baptism for instance – but this section on our need for the Church as the Body of Christ spoke to me:

David reminds us that our increasing maturity isn’t just about “us,” nor is it strictly about God.  Look at verse 74:

Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.

When we think about following God, it’s easy to remember that we do it to please him and it’s easy to remember his promises that he will bless us if we follow him.  What I’ve noticed Christians are very prone to forget is the impact that following God has on us corporately.  Ever since the Enlightenment, Christians have had a growing tendency toward individualism.  More and more “Christians” remove themselves from the Church.  But even for those who attend or are members of a church, when it really comes down to it, our faith is all-too-often best described as “Me, my Bible, and Jesus.”  Not only is there little room in our lives for the authority of the Church—if we hear something we don’t like, we just ignore it or move on to a different church—but we forget that as individual Christians we are part of Christ’s body and that his body is made up of other Christians.  St. Paul warns us about being loner Christians.  You might be an eye, but an eye can’t accomplish anything without the rest of the body.  In fact, without the rest of the body, the eye will die.  But Paul also warned that the Church needs the eye in order to function the way God intended.  If you take away the eye, you blind the body.

Getting back to our passage: the body benefits as her members follow after God—as they hope in his Word.  Just as you share your abilities as an eye or an ear or a hand or foot, we all share with the body our passion for God and for following him.  We all weep when a member of the body stumbles and falls into sin, but we all rejoice as we see our fellow members pursuing holiness and growing in their spiritual maturity.  The key is for each of us to hope in his Word—to trust the promises there.  If we trust God’s promises, we trust him, we follow him, and as we do that he build up his body, the Church.

May we all seek to build up each other as parts of His body, and in so doing, strengthen His Church!  I see more and more that if we take this to heart, seeking the good of our fellow church members before our own, we wind up strengthening the Church against attacks from within and without.

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