CAN THE CHURCH TODAY FOCUS UPON ITS WARRIOR KING?
A wonderful opportunity is presenting itself for this issue: The Tomtato plant which is framed over my desk is figuratively jumping up and down crying out to write about it, so I acknowledge to honor our Tomtato. . . This post has also gotten some good direction to explore further the continuing vision about the future of our Christian family — grafting two plants.
The above illustration was taken in spring as the sun was brighter, and the pet rock was so eager to be immortalized. A faithful paperweight to be sure, but it also reminds me of our function to love. It was a gift given to a small grandson because he said he wanted it. Represented a family relationship, the rock was worth telling about our love for children.
My story today involves three points; the bullet, the pointer, and the shadow. All three can be found in the Grafting of the tomato plant with the potato plant. And of course this is a very humble representation of our Church today. But God is revealing all this to me to show us how He is alive and in complete control of human, current events.
Bullets are proud symbols, but this one is humble aluminum made to contain electronic storage, as you can see the screw top line and the small hole in the bottom. The size of storage is two whole gigabytes, and it contains the long outline of the complete explanation of the Jewish Feasts. It was given me for attending the church interest group. It has some history.
The calibre of such a bullet size is about that of a 30-06 shell in length, but enlarged in diameter (there is no weapon for this size bullet). The function here is to point. To direct our eye down range from the bright stagelight that shows some unity with a direction. It appears to to be leaning back while it is mysteriously pointing down to the target center.
This symbolic bullet-pointer is placed to cast a shadow upon the target center, if only to draw our eye to the rock paperweight that is bringing a message. The one-word message is what I originally thought made the photo meaningful, but now, the means of this objective carries more weight. The contrast of light and shadow is less noticed by design.
The environment of full daylight and dark shadow speaks of something else that our lives require more time and investment. A child knows nothing of light nor darkness, but accepts their existance and learns to follow its direction. We are hunting for a greater significance for the sunlight, the bullet, and the rock paperweight. We find it in the shadow.
The bullet focuses our attention by directing its shadow into the center of a target-like letter of a word written on a granite stone. Without the shadow, without the sunlight, we might just miss the bullet’s function altogether. The bullet is made for killing, and for defense from killers — a weapon. The shadow its existence casts is a passive but assertive function.
Like the steeple of the local church that peacefully points to the heavens, our bullet points to the very message of our church. The message of power beyond our weapons . . . love transcends every evil darkness. Evil darkness is able only to speak to all men who choose to walk in darkness, but ‘All the power of darkness is unable to blow out a single candle’.
Now to the grafting of the tomato and potato plants. The Pomato Tomatoes grow above ground in full sunlight, while the potatos grow below the surface of the ground in total absence of light or in shadow. They are easily grafted together at the ground level and both feed each other of necessary nutrients. I Googled it because of our print of a potted Tomtato plant.
OUR CHURCH IS ALSO CAPABLE OF GRAFTING TO INCREASE PRODUCTION
The future of church unity is detailed in a document called Vatican II. You may read about it here or go directly to the document itself which is openly posted online. Reading it is not difficult because it is documented like you’d think a church constitution should read. (taken from Grace Communion International, https://www.gci.org/history/vatican)
“On October 11, 1962, twenty-four hundred Roman Catholic bishops marched phalanx-style in rows of six through St. Peter’s Square. Behind them strode the College of Cardinals, followed by Pope John XXIII, seated in a massive chair and carried by attendants. The entourage went into the splendid basilica, and the prelates took their seats. Across the aisle sat observers from other Christian faiths, invited by the Pope to attend the proceedings. The Second Vatican Council — the 21st ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church — was about to begin.(link shows all churches)
“Vatican II was the largest council gathering in the church’s history. The Council held 178 meetings in four successive years, adjourning Dec. 8, 1965. It produced 16 official documents. Several focused on ecumenism and unity with non-Catholic Christians. Pope John XXIII died in 1963, after the first session. The newly elected Pope Paul VI continued Vatican II with the same goals John had proclaimed.”
The above cgi article reads into the following areas of objection that seem to be common reasons nondenominational fellowships deny communion with Catholicism. If you agree with these objections, you are certainly not alone. But these points describe a wall between the Christian institutions and the Universal Church. The grafting process begins here.
CHURCH GRAFTING MEANS RESOLVING DISAGREEMENT TO UNDERSTAND COMMON TRUTH
“Papal authority and infallibility.
“Means of grace and role of the church’s sacraments.
“Relationship between Scripture and Roman Catholic tradition.
“Purgatory and devotions to the saints.
“Devotion to the Virgin Mary, her immaculate conception and bodily assumption.
“The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
“Identity of the Church as perceived by Catholic dogma.”
THE ANSWER IS FOUND IN THESE PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH ONENESS:
I. THE CHURCH IS ONE “The sacred mystery of the Church’s unity” (Catechism Part One, Profession of faith, section 2, chapter 3, article 9, paragraph 3) [www.Vatican.va]
813 The Church is one because of her source: “the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.”259
The Church is one because of her founder: for “the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body.”260
The Church is one because of her “soul”: “It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity.”261
Unity is of the essence of the Church:
CHURCH UNITY IS NOT OPPOSED TO DIVERSITY
“What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her “Church.”262
“814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life.
“Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions.”263
The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”264
CHARITY BINDS EVERYTHING TOGETHER IN PERFECT HARMONY
815 “What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity “binds everything together in perfect harmony.”265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
- common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God’s family.266
816 “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”267
THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL’S DECREE ON ECUMENISM EXPLAINS
“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”268.
Let me conclude here and now with these summary thoughts. . .
Let’s say the bullet is our heart, the sunlight is God’s grace, and the shadow is the Holy Spirit focused upon the message of the Rock. The Rock then, has to be both Peter and the foundation of the church.(Mt. 16:18, 1Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1Pe. 2:5,6; Rev. 21:14) [“Five different metaphors for the foundation of the church.” Bishop Robert H. Brom]
The process of grafting two plants (or churches) together successfully, requires they are the same size in diameter. . .meaning, although their environment differs, the teachings, the nutrients, the sustenance are understood as easily appling to both organisms. In other words, when the conditions of the process are fulfilled, the desired result will happen.
Finally, our viewpoint reverses. We are the Rock with the brand of love upon us, and are looking into the grace (sunlight) of God. God is revealing the one common denominator among all our fractured or dysfunctional bodies. The bullet. Remember how it represents our weapon for killing. . . and the grace of God is featuring it. But our weapons aren’t carnal.
If all Christian Churches have our enemy in common, and the enemy is undefeated because we are not united against him, we will then acknowledge that our common enemy is keeping us in strife and unable to realize the reality of church unity. The defeat of our enemy is revealed in the dark side of the bullet. We can all agree to be obediently grafted together, and,
THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST US!
Blessings of the second Advent,