Lead On To Zion, O God

8 Jul

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 6 After Pentecost 08 July 2012

Lead On To Zion, O God

From the very beginning of my journey, God had translated the word “Zion” in my soul as “heart.”  He didn’t mean “heart” as just emotion or sentiment.  The Holy Spirit took the word “Zion” and swirled it up into a glittering bath inside my being that washed through my body, soaked into my eyes, whetted my mind and appetite to know God more, filled my heart with compassion, ignited my senses and stabilized my emotions, and drenched my spirit with His Holy Spirit from the inside out.  My core being didn’t change; my essence now understood “Zion.”  Then God said in the most tender voice, “Love Me.  Love Me with all your body, soul, mind, emotions, heart, and spirit.  This is Zion.  Zion is the Heart; the sacred heart.”

I read through the lectionary readings and was amazed at how all of the selections, when laid out in the order in which they are presented, actually depict the human journey to the heart.

The journey starts out with others coming to us and saying, “Look, we are your bone and flesh.” (2 Sam 5:1)  We’re in this boat together.

We occupy the stronghold of our bodies and identities.  We give it a name.  We build our own little worlds [“city”] around “from the Millo inward” (v 9), like the supporting terraces of our circles of support.  Then we mill around inside as we grow and gain confidence, for the Lord our God of hosts is with us. (v 10).

The Lord is great and greatly to be praised in this “city” of our beings.  Through this “holy mountain” of joy we express our creativity pulsing through our hearts. (Ps 48:1)  “Mount Zion” of the heart-mind is in the “far north, the city of the great King.”  The head is at the top of this body frame, far north in this “city.” (v 2)  When Christ is put first in every decision and action then commitment becomes a vow which holds a vision.  Vision comes from the “far north” in the place of our minds, but not just of our heads, for we are in partnership with God.  The heart leads and the mind picks up the banner.  Within the citadels of purpose for God’s kingdom and glory, He shows Himself a sure defense. (v 3)  Other “kings” of our lives do assemble and they come together.  Sometimes the assembling “kings” are internal and sometimes they are external.  In either case, when they “see” the commitment they are astounded.  They panic and take flight (v 5); trembling takes hold of them like pains as of a woman in labor (v 6).  Commitment does that.  We ponder some more on God’s steadfast love in the midst of this “temple,” this “Zion” of our hearts, and go all around it counting its towers. (v 12)  We consider well the ramparts of our experiences through which God has led us (v 13), so that we may tell the next generation that God is our God forever and ever.  He will be our guide forever. (v 14) 

The commitment to God with the Churches is no different than the Zion of our hearts.  Her “kings” have gotten the simple yet profound message and all Seven Churches have “heard what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”  Whether the Churches “hear” or refuse to “hear,” they know that there has been a Prophet among them.  They KNOW in the deep heart-mind knowing place where the Holy Spirit dwells; they KNOW.  And they know that they KNOW.  And they have reacted like girls in labor with astonishment, then panic, then paralysis, and then more prayer without action.  This is all playing out as God is proving Himself True: Human nature doesn’t change in any millennia without God’s intervention.  As Beth Moore says, “Rulers can change dramatically while the surrounding culture remains largely unaltered, at least for a while; …the Babylonian mentality didn’t make haste and move out.  Cultures are rarely reflections of a single leader.”[1]  No matter what happens, God’s words are still true:

Ezekiel 2:5 Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

They DO know.  And birth still happens.  It happens to girls in labor and boys to men.  We lift our eyes to God (Ps 123:1) as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy upon us. (v 2)  Our souls have had more than their fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud. (v 4)  Even when our spiritual eyes receive revelations of exceptional character, still every one of us is given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep us from being too elated. (2 Cor 12:7)  Others around us will not understand.  But God’s grace is sufficient, because God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Still, our homies will be astounded. (Mk 6:2)  They will take offense. (v 3)  They knew us “back in the day,” before we made our vows to reside in “Zion” and love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, spirit, and strength; to love Him with all of our Life.  They knew us before the Great Commitment.  And even those who didn’t know us B.C. (Before Commitment) are influenced by the judgments cast by those around them onto us.  Judgments are insidious and spread like infection riding the coattails of a spirit of Deception.

Mark 6:4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”

This is Truth.  I know this from personal experience.

No deeds of power can commence forth in holy forward movement when the homies honor their suspicions, doubts, fears, and egos above God. (v 5)  It is rather amazing to watch the dynamic of unbelief unfold. (v 6)  The first thing we need as we step out is a friend or two and in authority over unclean spirits (and attitudes) and Christ has given us that authority. (v 7)  Authority isn’t boorish.  A boorish attitude would simply amplify the same type of attitude already present.  We don’t need extra baggage. (v 8)  We’ll pick up plenty as circumstances walk into our lives and trigger memories and emotions, which we’ll need to honor, bless, and release yet one more time. (v 9)  When we share our faith journeys, we’ll stay until we leave the place. (v 10)  Our hearts and senses will let us know when it’s time to leave.  The heart picks up signals.  Our bodies send us signals as well, if we’re listening.  God is present, so we “know” when we’re not overstaying our welcome.  We must keep our noses in Christ’s back as He leads us.

Some places are not welcoming.  They will refuse to “hear.”  They already have their minds made up.  All we can do is walk away.  Our exit is a testimony against them. (v 11)  Walking away does not have to mean severing the commitment to the relationship.  Sometimes “walking away” is necessary to give space to the other so the other can see the value in the relationship for themselves and what they threw away by refusing to “hear.”  It’s nothing we did.  Only God can change hearts.  As one pastor recently said, “Bow to Christ in front of you and let the Holy Spirit move over your back and hit them [the other behind you.]  You’ve done all you can do.  God’s grace is sufficient.”  From my experience, the Repent message is the hardest message to proclaim (v 12) because people, by nature, do not want to change.  They do not want to surrender their worldviews, their strongholds, citadels, and ramparts.  Humans will war just to make themselves feel alive, even when they live in “Paradise” and have everything provided for them.  All we can do is pray and bless; casting out the spirits, the attitudes, the demons that try to “eat our lunch;” praying for attitude changes, praying for our own attitude stillness as we defer and surrender to Christ, and praying for softened hearts; that our collective heart will break for what breaks God’s heart. 

Prayer: Lord, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.  Please anoint us with Your holy oil so that we may anoint others who are sick at heart.  Please cure us and them. (v 13)  Lord, stop all deceptions.  Break through the spiritual strongholds that block and interfere with our relationships with You, Lord.  Please make us well and whole, integrated and aligned in You in body, mind, spirit, and action, so that we may walk into Your Gates of Zion of the heart and in Truth.  We praise You, God!  We love You!  We bow before You and Your majesty!  Come!  Please bring on Your holy Zion kingdom into our hearts and lives!  Amen.

6 After Pentecost                    8 July 2012                                         Gospel: Mark 6:1-13

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
5:1 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh.

5:2 For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The LORD said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.”

5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.

5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

5:5 At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

5:9 David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward.

5:10 And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.

Psalm 48
48:1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain,

48:2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.

48:3 Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.

48:4 Then the kings assembled, they came on together.

48:5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight;

48:6 trembling took hold of them there, pains as of a woman in labor,

48:7 as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.

48:8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes forever. Selah

48:9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

48:10 Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory.

48:11 Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgments.

48:12 Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers,

48:13 consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation

48:14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever.

Ezekiel 2:1-5
2:1 He said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.

2:2 And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me.

2:3 He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day.

2:4 The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD.”

2:5 Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

Psalm 123
123:1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

123:2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until he has mercy upon us.

123:3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.

123:4 Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
12:2 I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows.

12:3 And I know that such a person–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows–

12:4 was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.

12:5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

12:6 But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me,

12:7 even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.

12:8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me,

12:9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

12:10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Mark 6:1-13
6:1 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

6:2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!

6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

6:4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”

6:5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.

6:6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching.

6:7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

6:8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;

6:9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.

6:10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.

6:11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

6:12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.

6:13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

[1] Beth Moore, Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy.  (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2006), p 115


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