Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sun. Mar. 9, 2014 (Troy Terpstra)

Troy Terpstra (MSC resident at Regent College) deconstructed Luke’s story of the centurion from Ch 7:1-10, with words that are uncomfortable to our culture. The centurion, as one under the authority of another, was heart-ready for discipleship to Jesus’s authority, yet we find that a difficult model to follow. We are like children, with all our desires (as American anthropological philosopher Rene Gerard said) being “borrowed desire”; one child, seeing another with a toy, desires no other in the toybox, but the one in the other child’s hands. The desire is not in the toy, but in the “other” - and so for us, our own desire is not in our own goals but in the accomplishments of others. This is not unique to modern times - Shakespeare wrote often of two friends who shared everything but the one thing they were unable to share, and came to grief. So too is it biblical - Cain & Abel, Jacob and Esau, and many more desired what others had, rather than what God ordained. But rather than look upon authority with a military or hierarchical mind, Troy invited us to consider the example of the craftsman, who put himself under the authority of a master to learn a craft, and thus express this craft to God’s glory. Paralleling discipleship, craftsmanship is antithetical to modern advertising, which gives us models for our desire which benefit not ourselves, but the advertisers. God has
another path - John 5:19 says “the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing”. Troy noted how this principle is expressed in art; as Troy had never discipled himself to the authority of a piano teacher, there is no virtue or joy in his playing, despite his freedom from the oppression of musical notation and practicing scales. Peacemaking is just such a craft, and one Christians are uniquely called to practice, just as we practice praying, reading scripture, and eating together. We are under authority; let us submit and rejoice in it. [AP]

In an active discussion, Troy responded to a question about peacemaking and spiritual directors with: “With the craftsmanship model, it’s [easy] to talk about it in terms of music or art, but what does it look like when we’re looking for a teacher who is a master in virtue in terms of loving their neighbour or forgiving? We can recognize that fruit and see it as a product of somebody who has ‘done their scales’ so to speak. You may say to a person, ‘I need to learn how to deal with the fact that I hold on to a lot of resentment, and you seem to be free of it!’ -- that didn’t just happen, that person has developed those skills through prayer, through reading the scripture, through another person... If we can recognize forgiveness as the fruit of craft, just like the other things, then I think that’s a worthy person to approach. Naming virtues is the helpful first step for a master-apprentice relationship.” [KH]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, March 9th, 2014 using your browser's preferred media player.



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