Category Archives: From the Minister

FROM THE PULPIT (Omaha World Herald ——- I Can See Clearly, Now

In Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth he wrote: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Remember how frustrating it is to drive when the windshield is fogged up? Have you bristled at waiting for the bathroom mirror to clear after a hot shower? On Tuesday, I was shoveling snow and my warm breath escaped through my scarf and fogged my glasses, and I could not see where I was shoveling. Have you ever been in the Majestic Theatre and have the movie start, only to realize it is out of focus? We want to see the world around us clearly and in focus, so we wear prescription glasses or contacts, have tinted windows to prevent glare and wear dark glasses protect our eyes from the sun.

Paul was saying that although there are things in this world and about God we cannot understand, or see clearly; one day we will be face to face with God, and know all things as God knows all things now.

Elders tell young people to be patient, because one day when they are older they will understand. We all have a little two year old in us that asks why of everything. Why is there war? Why do animals suffer? Why do babies die? Why is there pain? Scripture assures us that someday all things will be made clear, and will finally make sense. There is an old gospel hymn that says “trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand…we will understand it better by and by.” Until then, Paul also reminds us that we walk by faith and not by sight.

 

 

From The Pulpit

Recently, I asked who can recite the Ten Commandments, in order. Now, I ask who has noticed something interesting about those ten laws.

In the gospel of Mark is the story of a wealthy man who confronted Jesus and asked what he had to do to obtain eternal life. Jesus answered You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” The man claimed he had kept these laws since he was a child. Jesus then said “One thing you lack, go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10)

We know this as the story of how it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Theologians have debated and debated about whether it was literally a sewing needle or if it was a narrow passageway named the Eye of the Needle, and if a normal size camel could pass through it.

But, is this the only message in this story? Look, again, at the commandments Jesus listed. Of all the commandments, Jesus mentioned only the laws that related to our relationships with one another, and not one of the four laws that related to our relationship with God. Even Jesus’ instruction to sell everything and give to the poor, was about our relationships with one another.

Later in Mark, Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12)

From the Pulpit April, 4, 2015

You are reading this in the time in-between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is the time in-between the crucifixion of one who came to show us how to love and resurrection of that love. It is the time between darkness of Jesus crucified and the light of a Christ raised from the dead. This in-between time is often overlooked because nothing significant happened during this time. But, this in-between time is most important in the scheme of things because it is the time of faith. This in-between time was when those with faith held on and waited on the Lord, and those without faith, lost hope. A theologian once said that the difference between Judas (who betrayed Jesus once) and Peter (who denied Jesus three times) was that Peter had faith for the in-between times, and Judas did not. Judas’ faith was not strong enough to believe he could be forgiven, or get him through the in-between times to witness the resurrection of love. Faith is merely a word until we find ourselves in-between; in-between the blood draw and the final test results; in between the first chemo treatment and the last radiation; in between taking the entrance exam and getting the letter; in between the familiar and the unknown. It is faith that carries us through the darkness and into the light; through the valley and out the other side. Resurrection reveals that death is not the final word, and that God’s love for us and our love for one another never dies. Faith is not knowing what tomorrow holds, but knowing who holds tomorrow.