Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Runner


Hello Friends.
On Saturday I took MOM a bit of an adventure, a little hike.  It sure felt good to get out and explore, sniff around, climb and do a bit of running.  While we were taking a break next to a river MOM and I talked about what message she would give this Sunday.  We talked for a while then I got up and ran around a little bit.

As I have gotten older I do not run as I once did, BUTT  I still run and I love it and MOM says I would run and climb mountains until I collapsed (and she would be right).  When I get home I do collapse and I'm pretty tired and I spend the rest of the day napping.  And that is when it hit MOM, she had her message.  It’s a good thing she has me as her muse otherwise some Sundays there would be a whole lot of crickets chirping in church (although that might be cool too).  Anyway here is what she came up with, with my inspiration.

In Romans 9:5-15 Paul makes the point that he always makes: the point that righteousness through human attempts at good works, through the dutiful “actions” of keeping the law, will always result in failure. Humans just cannot be “good enough” do-gooders to get in good with God.

God offered Moses and the Israelites the “Law,” 613 of them to be exact. Well really God did not offer that many laws but the religious leaders just kept adding and adding to God’s original laws.  But the overwhelming power of sin made even keeping God’s laws skewed and slanted. A “human solution” for the power of sin just did not pan out. Sometimes there is only a “divine solution.” Sometimes the Lord has to be the One to fight the battle. Some need to hear that again: Sometimes the Lord has to be the One to fight the battle. You can’t fight it. You have to let God fight it.

The word for “good news, “euggaelion,” had a specific meaning long before it was used by Christians for the “Gospel” of Christ. In its original usage, “euaggelion” was simply a message sent — but an extremely important message. Before there were e-mails, text-messages, or insta-grams, there was “snail mail.” And I’m not talking about something with a stamp on it.

“Euaggelion” became the Greek word for a specific message offered during a specific time. It was a military term, used by military runners who were designated to return to the village or city that they served. These “early warning symbols” were either messengers of “good news” or “bad news.” The message they brought back was either one of “victory,” or “defeat”.   If they arrived, exhausted, bloody footed, sweaty, and dirty, but bearing the word of “Euaggelion, “Good News,” then the residents of the village were home free. They were saved. The runner’s message of “euggaelion” meant that the battle had gone in favor of their home allegiance. The spoils of victory were theirs.

A report back of “defeat” meant something wholly different. In a world where “To the victor belong the spoils,” victory and defeat were matters of death and life. For the very young and the very old, defeat meant an instant death sentence. For women defeat meant a future of rape and torture, slavery or death. For young children “defeat” meant a sure future of slavery at the hands of the victors of the battle. When the news was “bad,” it was VERY bad. And the runner was delivering a message of “Now YOU run. Run for your life!”

The messenger of the “euaggalion” was the forerunner of a new future that could be either glorious or gory. There was no in-between. That was the message that Paul was trying to convey to new Christians. The way of adherence to the Law itself was a message of “bad news.” There was no “out” for those who kept trying to keep the letter of the law. There was no “in” that would enable someone, no matter how hard they tried, to meet the “minimum standard requirement” for righteousness.

So instead of the ill-fated human desire to save oneself, God offered the grace and gift of forgiveness that came from trusting in God’s only begotten son. But this “gift” of salvation was not purchased with some  “gift card” that meant someone with more money than you peeled it off to lay it down as a special donation. Instead, this “gift” of redemption was purchased by Christ on the cross. The price of ridding humanity of its doom was the blood of Christ, his obedience even to death on the cross.

The messengers who brought the “good news” of battle to their hometowns often collapsed when they arrived. They were beaten and bloody from their run. As “runners” their feet were particularly “beat up.” Before the days of Nikes and Adidas, foot protection was minimal. “Runners” were “runners” because they could run over rough country for many, many miles — barefoot. Shoes and sandals fell apart. Feet were resilient. Feet might become brutalized and bloody, but they could keep on going. And that is exactly what these long distance, “911” messengers did — they kept going until they delivered their message – “Good News! You’re Saved.” They kept going until they were able to relay the message of deliverance or disaster to their homeland.

Jesus was the runner from heaven to earth. Jesus was the ultimate “marathon” runner who collapsed on the cross with a message of extreme — indeed universal — importance: “Good News. You’re Saved.” Jesus’ message was not about adapting new ways to old laws. Jesus’ message meant the end of the old ways and the beginning of God’s new way of relating to and reconnecting to humanity. Jesus’ death on the cross made possible a whole new way for human beings to connect with God.

As Jesus hung on the cross, his feet and hands reflected the reality of his love. Just like the long distance runners who brought “good news” with their last breath, who brought the “euaggelion” to the village square, Jesus’ bloody feet and hands brought the first time message of this new deliverance to the world.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, was beaten and broken, his hands and feet reflecting the extent of God’s love for humanity.   “Beautiful are the feet that bring the good news.” Jesus’ feet were broken and bloody, nailed to the cross, crushed by pride and prejudice, Jesus’ feet and hands exemplified those who had, for centuries, delivered the “good news.”

Among the “ugly” things that have brought us “good news” over our lifetimes are the swollen, arthritic hands of a grandmother who has worked tirelessly to provide for her family. The ruptured vertebrae and sciatic nerves of a father that have been sacrificed on the job for the sake of one’s family. The undrilled teeth and overdue glasses that have been bypassed so that a loved one could have something deemed more important.

“Beautiful are the feet that bring good news…”  When Jesus sang from the cross Psalm 22, a psalm that begins “My God, My God, Why Have you Forsaken me” but ends with the declaration of God’s victory - “God Has Done It!” or otherwise translated “It is Finished!” — the runner from heaven to earth was declaring with his last breath, “You’re Saved! You’re Saved! The Victory has been won!”

Blessings,
Goose

25 comments:

  1. A very good sermon today Goose and MOM. Thank you for sharing. We really loved your pictures too!

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  2. Luv today's message Goose. And of course da pictures of you runnin.

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  3. Very nice Goose and as always we take a moment out to think about our world.
    Have a serene easy Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  4. Hari Om
    ...and amen! Surrender is surely something to practice - so rarely can the little human ego let go of itself. Wonderful words today Goose and Mom - you make a great relay team!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

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    1. Hari OM
      EEEEEEKKK just got word from F&E that it is a special day for you as well Goose... extra special wags for that!!! Yxx

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  5. Wonderful message and photos today Goose - you are indeed a wonderful muse

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  6. Hi Goose,
    What a wonderful inspiration you are to your Mom, such a nice sermon, it was so beautiful to hear those words and see the photos of you running happily, playing in the river, enjoying the hike, surrounded by all of God's creations and you running through the forest giving good news to your Mom and her message to us! Your paws are beautiful Goose! Love and Licks from your furiend Frank XxxxxxxxX

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  7. Bro you inspired your mom to a wonderful message, we all should think about the runner from heaven who brought an essential message: we are saved. Have a wonderful sunday. The dachshund-brothers told me, it's a special day for you today: Happy Gotcha Day!

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  8. We are new to blogville ... Frankie & Ernie said a certain Weimaraner is having a gotcha day ... happy 14th gotcha day goose.

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  9. We love the pictures of your hike. Oh Hey Happy Gotcha Day Goose!

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  10. What a great message and Goose, it is so good seeing you enjoy being outside even if it is a short time. We bet you really enjoyed that and we know that Mom enjoyed having you with her. Thanks again for a great sermon.

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  11. WOWZERZ - u must really b sum kinda inspirashun fur your mom tue git that good of a message - butt then watchin'u in thoze pikchurez wood due it - MOST PAWSUM PIKCHUREZ OF U!

    We Beaglebratz were also over at Frankie'n Ernie'z blog an'they told us what u wuz havin'tue-day - HAPPEE GOTCHA DAY GOOSE!
    Shiloh-Lord of the Manor an'Diva Shasta

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  12. Goose my handsome friend Happy Happy Gotcha day!! You are indeed an inspiration to your mom and she is our inspiration. What a lovely message.
    Lots of hugs madi and mom your bfff

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  13. What a GRAND MESSAGE fur you to put out here TODAY... on YOUR SPECIAL GOTCHA Day Buddy. We hope that you take 87 seconds to THANK your mom fur making this all Pawsible fur you.
    THEN celebrate CELEBRATE... CELEBRATE your SPECIAL Day.
    HUGS and LOVE coming from Our HILL to YOU on this grand day.

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  14. Such a beautiful message today Goose! We really love the pictures too, especially the one with you under the "BIG stick." You're just so darn handsome!!

    Happy Gotcha Day furend! We wish you a beautiful day filled with peace, love and happiness.

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle & Muffin

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  15. Wonderful message, Goose. Thank you for sharing and the beautiful pics, too.
    Have a blessed day.
    XOXO

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  16. What a great message Goose! Mes can see how yours Mommy gets inspired! Now today - Sunday - is National Lazy Day, mes suggests that yous and your Mommy finds a Hammock and lazes after church ALL DAY!
    Kisses
    Nellie

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  17. Hey Goose!
    Wow, a big ole happy gotcha day to you, my wonderful furiend! You look great running around in nature and I'm tickled that you got to go swimmie. Great duckies too!
    Have a super gotcha day!
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, Police Commish

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  18. Your Sunday posts are always so good, Goose and Mom - gives us lots to ponder.

    But while we were pondering, we heard it was your 14th Gotcha Day - how wonderful is THAT!!!!

    Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning

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  19. We KNEW you were the REAL sermon writer Goosie! And of course we knew Jesus loved runners a special extra bit BOL! Mom made me write that! BTW, we wanted to wish you a special 14th GOTCHA Day greeting buddy! Of course we know your mom will spoil you!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley
    Mayorz For All Paws

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  20. Be sure to give your Mom lots of kisses because that is a very good message. :)

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  21. Thanks Goose ..... I do so enjoy your sermon. Not to mention the pictures. Crikey ... Happy gotcha day, mate!!

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  22. Oh Goose your sermons are always the bestest!!!! And you always have your Moms take just the right shots to fit right in with them!!
    Ya knows what I heard???? Do ya????
    HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!!!!! WooooHooooo!!!
    I hopes you have some pawsome snuggles with your Moms today!
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  23. What a beautiful message, Goose!
    Cammie!

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