Metaphor as Ultimate Reality

“But the greatest metaphor, for Taylor, is Christ Himself, the living link between grace and nature, God and man, the metaphor who uses metaphor and whose union of earthly and divine is figured through another metaphor, the Lord’s Supper” (Daly, p. 181).

Something to Push Against

“Creative freedom can defeat itself because novelty can be felt only in relation to a perceived norm, just as rhythmic freedom can only be felt against a regular meter. When the norm is obscured by heedless violations, interest gradually disappears” (Jacques Barzun, The Culture We Deserve, p. 155).

Selling Bibles In Every Possible Configuration

“We should all be realists by now and not expect the solution to come from those who are profiteering off the problem. If a serious reform of this particular publishing travesty ever got large enough for anyone to notice it, the caterwauling of Textual Critic and Businessman, in close harmony with one another, would lead any dispassionate observer to conclude that someone had undertaken the skinning of cats with a butter knife” (Mother Kirk, p. 59).

The Seamless Coat of Christ

“There was a great deal of ado in Luther’s time about the seamless coat of Christ . . . When Luther labored to bring reformation to the rule, they bade him take heed that he did not rend the seamless coat of Christ . . . And what a stir has there been, an outcry, against men who would not yield to everything that was enjoined! Oh, they rent the seamless coat of Christ . . . I remember Musculus, in his tract, De Schismate, had a witty and pious note upon this. The soldiers, he said, would not divide the seamless coat of Christ, but what made them be so care of it? Was it out of respect to Christ, that they were so unwilling it should be divided? No, but out of respect to their own advantage, everyone hoping it might fall to his share . . . So men would not have Christ’s coat divided; they would have no division in the Church. What do they aim at? Their own advantage, that they might enjoy quietly their own ease, honor, and means; that they might have none to contradict them, but that the stream may run smoothly and wholly with them” (Burroughs, Irenicum, p. 7).

Strength for the Battle

There are only two tables in the world—the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Between the two is the division of light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, good and evil. This means that the choice must be one of the two—the two cannot be combined or blended in order to create a third way.

Life is simple. Love God and hate sin. Life is not complicated. Love God, love His people, love His Word, love His sacraments, love His church. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, and we are summoned to this fear, and we are strengthened at this table for that hatred. Remember that the Ephesians were commended for their hatred of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, but we rebuked for falling from their first love. The intensity of our love for Jesus will not diminish our hatred for all that arrays itself against Him. Far from it.

This table nourishes your love and nourishes your hatred. Love God and hate evil. If you do not feel yourself to have the strength for this, come here, to this Table, to receive the strength. You do not come to the table as a reward for being strong, you come to the Table weak, knowing that only God can make you strong. The instrument He uses to enable you to receive this strength is faith. And even this faith is given to you as a gift so that no one can boast. Little children, you are coming to the Table, not because you are strong, but because God intends to make you strong. He will do this by His grace, so just come in simple faith.

Look at Your Hands

The fact of death is woven into this fallen creation. The fact of resurrection is woven into the new creation. We are to live in the old order, as heirs of the new. We cannot do this by sight, and so we are summoned to walk by faith.

Look at your hands. You know that at some future point, those same hands will have no flesh on them, and will simply be bone. You do not need to be persuaded of this; no proofs need to be undertaken. It is a given. No matter how young, or how old, all of us here will return in some fashion to the dust that Adam was made from.

But we are descended also from another Adam, one who committed no sin, a man who never turned aside from what God gave Him to do. And one of the tasks that God assigned to Him was the securing of our resurrection in glory. In this mission, our Lord Jesus was successful.

So look at Your hands again. Just as Thomas was invited to look at the hands of Jesus Christ, and to identify them as the same hands that had received the nails just days before, so you are invited—no, more than that—you are commanded to believe that those same bones that shape your hands will be reconstituted, and flesh will surround them again. But this time, your body will not be a natural body, dominated by the soul, but rather a body dominated and controlled by the spirit. It will be no less tangible; rather, like the resurrection body of Jesus, it will certainly be made of very solid matter.

We think that Jesus went through walls because the resurrection made Him ghostly. It is more likely that He went through them because the walls were ghostly, timbers and plaster of smoke. The wonder was not that the disciples saw Him; the wonder was that He could see them. Because of the resurrection, all of us here are heirs of a complete and dense reality. We will inherit life. Let us worship as heirs of that life.

An Unthinkable Reverse

[Around 1718] “We have an Ottoman document . . . the first Muslim document in which Muslim and Christian methods of warfare are compared, to the advantage of the latter, and the previously unthinkable suggestion is advanced that the true believers should follow the infidels in military organization and the conduct of warfare” (Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? p. 20).

Antiphony

“Since God gives His glory to man through metaphoric creatures, it is appropriate that man answer through metaphoric poetry” (Daly, p. 177).