Friday, December 30, 2005

It's a Story of Sacrifice

Advent Devo Part 5: The Week of January 1

When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four Hags, holding four torches, stood at the corners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone, not of steel, and it was of a strange and evil shape.

At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan’s head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,

"And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die."

From "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", Book 2 of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Little did Lucy and Susan dream that the mighty Aslan would be caught, shaven, bound, tortured and killed. They knew him as a mighty ruler of Narnia, not as the subdued body on the Stone Table. They must have had their doubts as they watched the minions of the White Witch torment him. How could this be?

Jadis underestimated, however, the power of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea and the way that the Deep Magic would be satisfied, once and for all. She connived and believed that she had destroyed Aslan and even the Four Thrones of Cair Paravel. She was wrong! The sacrifice was made; Edmund would be restored as a future co-ruler of Narnia, and Jadis herself would be defeated.

Daily Scripture Readings

Day One: Psalm 4, Exodus 12:21-30, Mark 12:28-44
Day Two: Psalm 20, Exodus 13:1-16, Luke 5:12-16
Day Three: Psalm 27, Exodus 32:1-14, Acts 7:44-60
Day Four: Psalm 50, I Kings 8:22-30, Romans 12:1-8
Day Five: Psalm 51, I Kings 8:41-61, Romans 12:9-21
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13


Glory be to God on high,
and in earth peace,
good will towards men.
We praise Thee, we bless Thee,
we worship Thee, we glorify Thee,
we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory,
O Lord God, heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty.
O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesus Christ;
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.
For Thou only art holy; Thou only art the Lord;
Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost,
art most high in the glory of God the Father.

From The Book of Common Prayer, Rite I, © 1979, Church Publications, New York. P. 52

  • Last fall, Goreth, Mary and Matilde visited our church and shared how they had remained faithful in spite of sacrifice and persecution. Was your heart moved? Did you see how much they gave up, out of obedience to God? Their stories touched us because, I believe, we could see the love of God through their words. Stop and pray for the courage to be faithful and sacrificial in your life, as these women of God have been. Pray also for them and the ministries of Amani ya Juu, as they share the Good News of Jesus in their home countries.
  • The Western Church often mistakes inconvenience for ‘sacrifice’. We volunteer or shop or write a check when asked. If it is only an action, God is not impressed! It doesn’t matter what you put in the offering plate if your heart is not part of the gift. Ask God to give you a heart that seeks to sacrificially serve and bless Him.
  • Hans Urs VonBalthasar, a Swiss philosopher and Jesuit priest, wrote: "Religion is the world in its journey toward God. Christianity is God journeying toward the world, and people who believe in Him taking the same direction as He." Part of our "journey" is following Christ in the way of self-denial and self-sacrifice. How is God showing you to change and grow as His disciple?

Unless otherwise noted, ©2005 by Deb Vaughn.

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