Tag Archives: The Eucharist

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Handed Over

By Marco Casanova

“The God who once manifested wrath against those who turned to idols by handing them over to their shameful passions has now handed them over to the life-giving, transformative power of the Spirit of Christ.” Dr. Robert Gagnon

St. Paul’s words to the Romans are weighty. They had to be. Ancient Roman culture needed prophetic clarity, not a weird attempt to assimilate Christian faith with pagan toxicity. We share that need today. “Gay Christian” ideology tries to mix the sacred with the pagan. St. Paul speaks a better word to us. The Savior he preaches has power to reorder us in love.

St. Paul’s words on homosexuality are clear and timely. Hear this: ‘They worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…Because of this, God handed them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way…the men were inflamed with lust for one another…and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion’ (Romans 1:25-27). To counter these words with laborious arguments is unscholarly and reduces the Gospel of its power. Dare we dismiss what the Savior brought through St. Paul? This Roman epistle deserves a fair hearing.

To be “handed over” (v. 26) to lust is an important word choice. St. Paul describes the evident homosexual passion of Rome as a byproduct of God handing them over to what they wanted. Boundless desire becomes its own punishment. We do what we want to our own peril.

I handed myself over to guys to momentarily meet my ‘need.’ But my lust lacked life, providing no lasting fulfillment or openness to new life. To hand myself over to same-sex sin consumed me and compelled me towards a dead end. I wasn’t free. I needed Someone to save me.

Back to Romans. After his description of ‘gay’ chaos, St. Paul addressed his mostly Jewish readers: ‘You think you are less in need of mercy than these lustful ones?’ Paul invites us in all our messiness into mercy. Yes, the mercy of Jesus is messy. The God-man, slain on a Cross, handed His heart over to be cut open for us. His body fluids are our cleansing flood (John 19:34). Disciples of mercy don’t hide their pagan messes. We’re not afraid because Jesus isn’t afraid of us.

Jesus broke the domination of homosexuality in me. Jesus freed me for more. That’s what He does. He sets captives free. The power of homosexual passion to consume me was real. Though this creative gift of sex is powerful and purposeful, it enslaved me in its disorder. I enthroned my bodily urge for men and it demanded my worship. Jesus wanted more for me.

In handing Himself over for me, Jesus rescued me from being handed over to lust (John 19:16). Only Jesus can set us free from such captivity.

Following Jesus is disruptive. There are no qualms about that. But let’s not become self-piteous and make our “sacrifice” the focal point. Don’t stop at what you’ve given up. Run to the One who continues to hand Himself over each and every day for you.

Utterly important to me is daily Communion. The Eucharist is His “handing over” made flesh. It’s a tangible, deep, transformative remembrance that Jesus is on a mission to rescue us daily.

Jesus is always on the move to save us, handing Himself over, all over again.

Friends Who Fear

‘It is a dreadful thing to fall in the hands of the living God.’ (Heb. 10: 31)

Lion Photo by ucumariBecause of Jesus, I am a friend of God. And because of Jesus, I fear God. By that I mean I revere Him and tremble at His Word. He is a friend I don’t want to mess with.

That the Creator and Redeemer of all would stoop down to raise us up baffles me; that He also calls us friends blows my mind. What I do know is that such friendship is ours only because of the radical initiative of the Father and equally radical obedience of the Son. Only through their willingness to endure the Divine Wound—the Cross–in which both suffered the loss of each other, are we free to be His friends.

Our friendship with God cost Him everything. I do not minimize the vast and profound victory of His blood and broken body. I savor its sweetness daily. But as I ingest that Holy Meal I realize that He has also laid claim to me: I am no longer my own. He purchased me at an inestimable price. The Eucharist frees us to know this on a bodily level in a way that corresponds with St. Paul’s exhortation that believers flee all forms of sexual immorality because our bodies are no longer ours to do what we will. They are His, members of Christ. (I Cor. 6: 12-20)

I tremble when I consider what I could do with my body or another’s. This friend of God fears defiling the houses where He dwells. I fear the God who created all human temples and who will hold me accountable for whether I dignified fellow image-bearers or reduced them to my lusts. That is not a phobic, ‘shame-based’ response to socially unacceptable desires. That is holy fear based on allegiance to a holy God. Such fear inspires holy love and awe for our fellow humanity precisely because they belong to Him.

Perhaps part of the slide of the American church into a kind of apostasy, sexually-speaking, is due to the fact that we have emphasized friendship with God to the neglect of fearing Him. We may well use the language of the Cross as the way into such friendship. But then we conveniently remove the Cross as the sign and seal of our new humanity and the reverence with which we are to treat others.

I fear for those who claim to be Jesus’ friends but show no fear in regards to what they do to their, or others’, bodies. Pray urgently for friends who have no fear.

‘If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, who has insulted the Spirit of grace?’ (Heb. 10: 26-29)

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