We had a wonderful meeting last night!  We sat down to a feast of potato soup, chicken corn chowder, shepherd’s pie, and strawberry “uno leche” cake (in honor of Ashley’s 21st birthday!).  We took communion together, and Les related taking the Lord’s supper to his recent studies of Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life. Christ’s blood (the cup) covers our sins, that is, the individual sins that we have committed or that we will ever commit.  Christ’s body (or the cross) is represented by the bread.  This is what took away our sin nature, or the drive to sin.  (For a more detailed look at this miracle, read Romans 1-8.  The first four chapters look at sins, the others concern our sin nature.)  When we set our minds on Christ and not on this world, we know that we are free of both the guilt of our sins and the drive of our sin nature.  When our minds are set on the things of this world, we often forget that we are free.  Our lives and our lineage have been rewritten.  Our lineage used to be “in Adam,” and his sin and the sins of our forefathers were our history.   When we have accepted Christ and his sacrifice, we are no longer “in Adam” but “in Christ.”  His history becomes our new history.  We have been crucified with Him.  We have become a new species, in the lineage of God rather than man.

And that was just our dinner conversation.

We also discussed a new schedule for the blog.   Our goal is now to have FIVE new posts every week.  That sounds like a lot, but two of them are already taken care of in our Sunday and Thursday recaps (which are posted Monday and Friday).  On Tuesday, I will be posting a recipe of one of our potluck dishes.  On Wednesday, April will be sharing something interesting that she has found on the internets for our edification and/or enjoyment.  Thursday will be open for anyone in the church who wants to share.  If you have a teaching, a link, or anything else that would benefit the blog, please email it to me at bonniemaisen@gmail.com with the subject “Thursday post.”

When we retired to the living room without the kids (yay, Ashley!) Adam began talking about being the “husband of one wife.”  Though that idea seems pretty simple at first glance, Adam was talking about the art of being a husband.  He talked about being “fully engaged” with your wife, loving her as Christ loves the church.  We said that Christ loves the church unconditionally, whole-heartedly, and sacrificially.  Not just being willing to give up your life for her, but being willing to give up your own dreams and goals.

This led to a discussion of the Proverbs 31 woman, likening her to the church.  Here is what the passage looks like when read with the church as the subject.

Who can find a virtuous and capable church?
We are more precious than rubies.
Our husband (Christ) can trust us,
and we will greatly enrich His life.
We bring Him good, not harm,
all the days of our life.We finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
We are like a merchant’s ship,
bringing our food from afar.
We get up before dawn to prepare breakfast for our household
and plan the day’s work for our servant girls.

We go to inspect a field and buy it;
with our earnings we plant a vineyard.
We are energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
We make sure our dealings are profitable;
our lamp burns late into the night.

Our hands are busy spinning thread,
our fingers twisting fiber.
We extend a helping hand to the poor
and open our arms to the needy.
We hae no fear of winter for our household,
for everyone has warm[c] clothes.

We make our own bedspreads.
We dress in fine linen and purple gowns.
Our husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
We make belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.

We are clothed with strength and dignity,
and we laugh without fear of the future.
26 When we speak, our words are wise,
and we give instructions with kindness.
27 We carefully watch everything in our household
and suffer nothing from laziness.

Our children stand and bless us.
Our husband praises us:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a church who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Obviously, some of this fits better than the rest, but some of the main ideas are that we take care of our household and the poor, that we earn a good reputation for Christ, and that we are not lazy.  Also this is intended toward the church as a whole and not individuals.

After this, we talked about a passage in C. S. Lewis’s A Horse and His Boy that April and I had found a commentary about online.

My good Horse,” said the Hermit… “My good Horse, you’ve lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don’t put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You’re not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you’re nobody special, you’ll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another.

We are told as young as I can remember that we are unique, special little snowflakes, and that our value comes from how different we are from other people.  That is not the way that God sees it.

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.  And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  (1Thessalonians 4:9-12 NLT)

These are basically instructions to the church to be nobody special.  As my mother would say, “Head down, mouth shut, do your job.”  Your value is in how much God values you…just as much as anyone else.  Papa, in Paul Young’s The Shack, talks about how she is “especially fond of” everyone of us, which means that we’re not special, but we’re also more valuable than even we can believe.

Two ways that we try to make ourselves more special is by belittling ourselves (the martyr or the victim) or by belittling other people through gossip.  We can even do this corporately by bashing other churches.  Marty likened this to an autoimmune disease in the body.  We are attacking OURSELVES.  Every Christian and every church is part of ONE body, so we are only hurting ourselves.

We ended the evening in song.  We sang “Take my Life,” “In Christ Alone,” and “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).”

Whew.