We had the morning to ourselves and used it to get some work done – I am still professor of theology and pastor of pastors. The joyful work was giving Bethany Allen input for her sermon at Bridgetown. I am eager to hear it. Amazing sermon on feelings and Sabbath, part of the BT series on Practicing the Way.
Terry and Christina Cokenour and their girls picked us up for lunch at Vak Varju – the Black Crow. If you look at the website, you can get a “taste” of our experience. There were many jokes about Russell Crow and Darth Vader, reinterpreted to be a stylized black crow with a helmet
The food was marvelous, with full time taken to prepare it which gave lots of time for conversation. But it was super hot with sun shining into the enclosed patio and four powerful heaters going full blast. I felt for the server who brought our food trying not to drip sweat on it! You can see the beauty of Sherry’s pork tenderloin dish.
Golgota 11 Church
Terry and I, along with the girls, went to the building where the church meets. Sherry and Christina went out and enjoyed some girl time over treats at a local bakery.
We did the setting up, chairs and sound equipment, practiced the songs and talked a lot about ministry in this area. Hungary is technically Christian but almost wholly unchurched. So there is a lot of work to do.
I tried to capture some of the feeling of the area: fitness center to the left, Burger King in the middle and “Com Condo” on the right. These are what we called Stalin Apartments in other eastern block countries I have ministered in: very basic solid, functional only apartments for workers in the communist economy. Now the people are updating the apartments in very attractive ways even as the exterior remains the dingy concrete.
The church, Golgota 11, Golgotha 11, the Calvary Chapel in District 11, was finishing a short series on reconciliation so I started with 2 Cor. 5:11-21 on the reconciliation that leaves the “fleshly” perception with it’s bitterness and hurt behind for the “new creation” where we don’t count tresspasses against people because of what God did making Jesus who knew no sin to be sin – meaning our sin shame and fear was absorbed by Him in some mysterious way so we can become the full Christlike righteousness He has for us.
I went to the parable of the prodigal in Luke 15, focusing on the first son who betrayed his father, shaming him, emotionally killing him. The Father does not go after the son, because in the young man’s pride, it would seem more controlling domination, perhaps. But this son’s partying ends up destroying his own life.
The key to reconciliation is first the son coming to his senses (think 2 Tim. 2:25-26) at the end of his pride and rebellion and remembering life with the Father. The other side is both the Father letting love for his son and the memory/hope of their relation overcome his hurt and shame. The son’ repentance (coming back home and to Father) and confession (I have sinned and am no longer worthy to be your son) along with the Father’s Ex. 34:6-7 compassion and love combine to produce the sweet fruit of reconciliation.
Had the son not repented, coming home with “Hey, Dad, I’m back. Kill the fatted calf so I can party” or had the Father demanded that the son earn his way back into the family with years of servanthood it would have been very different. No reconciliation would have happened. It is always a two sided work.
I spoke of an example from my pastoral life where a woman committed adultery against her husband. They went through this sort of process and were fully reconciled after both gave a ton of shame and pain to Jesus by the power of the Spirit. I heard later that a person present who, completely unknown to me, is in the process of reconciling with an adulterous spouse. Other advised never do that, it never works, you can never trust. The sermon brought hope to that marriage.