Keep Drinking the Milk of the Word

Scripture Focus: Hebrews 5.11

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Reflection: Keep Drinking the Milk of the Word

By John Tillman

In Hebrews chapter 5, the author wishes to discuss complicated topics of Christ’s transcendental priesthood, the Trinity, and the incarnation. But how is this possible when the readers are not ready for such theological complexity? The writer rebukes the readers, telling them that it is difficult to teach them when they don’t even try to understand.

Just like the chastised readers, the maturity of western Christianity is in question.

Our world needs a gospel-driven worldview, yet half of those raised in church can’t identify the Great Commision. What is it? Who said it? What does it mean? Where is it in the Bible? One out of two don’t know.

This is not just an indictment of our lack of biblical knowledge. More knowledge isn’t the answer. Jesus didn’t call Peter to build a biblical trivia team. Peter, and by extension every Christian, is called to feed a flock, starting with the young. Starting with milk. Milk changes a lamb to a ram.

However, even the simplest of disciplines, church attendance, has been in decline since 1959. (We can’t, therefore, blame millenials for it.) It’s not that we are still drinking milk when we should have been weaned, but that we’ve never drunk it consistently.

Perhaps our culture disdains milk and small beginnings too much? We desire something for nothing. We want spiritual marathon ribbons without putting in the hard miles of training.

Drinking the milk of the word should not be a marker of immaturity and shame but of growth. The purpose of milk is progress. One doesn’t leave milk behind, but adds to it, learning to consume and digest spiritual foods of greater complexity. 

Babies physically grow faster in their early years than at any time in their life. But the growth of the visible is nowhere close to as impressive as the cognitive growth that is happening in their brains. The growth we can experience by the simple application of spiritual practices to our lives can be similarly exponential.

Prioritizing the basics of faith—Bible reading, reflection, prayer, and corporate worship—is a spiritual intake process that matures with us, leading deeper into scripture as we repetitively read and absorb God’s Word.

If we expect to effect change in our complex and demanding world, we need to consistently drink our milk.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence

For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly, my hope is in him. — Psalm 62.6

Read more about Slavery to Maturity
Perhaps the best thing God can do for our spiritual maturity is to lead us through a desert of trials, mistakes, and dangers

Read more about The Purpose Beyond Growth :: Throwback Thursday
Reproduction, not mere development, is the goal of matured being—reproduction in other lives.


Praying Through Ancient Hymns :: Worldwide Prayer

*Our devotionals for the next week and into the following week will focus on prayer. May this prayer and prayerful hymn, prepare our hearts.

Reflection: Praying Through Ancient Hymns :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

This prayer from Australia is interspersed with verses from William Henry Draper’s hymn “All creatures of our God and King.” 

Draper’s hymn, written around the turn of the century in 1899 and widely published in 1919, is a loose translation/paraphrase of one of the most ancient hymns of the church. The text is taken from Saint Francis’ Canticle of the Sun written in 1224, near the end of Francis’ life and amidst suffering from illness. Parts of Canticle are based on Psalm 148.

It seems much of the most profound art in the church was originally intended for children. This hymn is one example, being penned and set to music for the purposes of a children’s celebration before gaining its immense popularity that has seen two centuries of use in worship.

May we then, with childlike faith, approach God’s throne as Francis would have us do—as brothers and sisters, united through the Holy Spirit with each other, with nature, and with Christ, nature’s Maker and Lord.

*If unfamiliar with the hymn or tune, you may find lyrics and tune in this video.

A Responsive Song of Praise
From Australia

Creator of all, we praise your name. Large and small, important and insignificant, plain and beautiful, all are part of your Kingdom.

(sung)
All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice with us sing,
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thou burning sun with golden beam, thou silver moon with softer gleam.
O praise Him, O praise Him.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


Creator of wind, clouds, and the evening, we see your love of beauty and order.
We bring our heartfelt thanks for the beauty of the skies.

(sung)
Thou rushing wind that art so strong, ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise Him, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice.
Ye lights of evening find a voice, 
O praise Him, O praise Him.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


For humankind, the crown of your creation we pray for wisdom and peace.
May there be peace with brothers and sisters, black and white, rich and poor, powerful and weak.

(sung)
And all ye men of tender heart, forgiving others take your part,
O sing ye, Alleluia.
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, praise Him and on Him cast your care.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


Creator, sustainer we magnify your wondrous name. You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, We worship you as Lord and King, we worship you as companion and friend, we worship you as leader and as servant.

(sung)
Let all things their creator bless and worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit three in one!
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Amen.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

*Song: “All Creatures of Our God and King” – recording by David Crowder Band


Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life and will nor allow our feet to slip.— Psalm 66:7-8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 21 (Listen -4:06)
Hebrews 3  (Listen -2:25)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Kings 22 (Listen -3:45), Hebrews 4 (Listen -2:43)
2 Kings 23 (Listen -7:43), Hebrews 5  (Listen -1:57)

Thank You!
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Read more about Praying as Music
If music is a universal language, prayer can be similarly described. Prayer is humankind’s universal language of love to God. — Dr. Tony Cupit

Read more about We Confess :: Worldwide Prayer
When we call others to confession, we ought to be inviting them to join us, not sending them somewhere we’ve never been.

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