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When will you worship?

May 1, 2014

A couple of years ago, when I was searching for a church, I had an interview with a presbytery executive who asked me a question that left me momentarily without speech: If I were called to be the pastor of a church in her presbytery, she wanted to know, when would I worship?

When would I worship? Well …. um, I will worship on Sunday with the congregation, I guess.

No, no, no, she responded. You must have a plan to take care of yourself! You need time off! What will you do? … and so on, at some length. In other words, she really had been trying to ask where I would find Sabbath for myself amid the demands of serving a congregation. It’s a good question. If I would have understood she was asking me about self-care in the first place, I would have given her a far better response.

She of course did what those of us in ministry frequently do – provide a lengthy and authoritative answer to the question you did not ask about an issue you do not necessarily need addressed.

By the way, I was not called to serve that church — it was just not the right place for me. However, I have from time to time thought about the question: When will you worship? I am even willing to admit in hindsight that perhaps it was not as badly worded as I initially believed.

In my initial experiences leading worship in a church, my mind was always so occupied with the next thing I would do – call for the saying of the creed, preaching the sermon, introducing the hymn, praying over the offering – that I could not focus on worshipping. In fact, I came to realize that I could open my mind and heart for worship far more often in the Wednesday morning service I led at a local Alzheimer’s unit – where the congregational expectations are nil.

Gradually, though, I have more often felt that I can worship on Sunday mornings – and for me, maybe that just had to come with experience. Last Sunday, though, was Youth Sunday. So I got to step out of the pulpit entirely and sit out in a pew, which, if you are a preacher, is something like allowing someone else to drive your car. (Yes, I realize it is not really my car). I got to worship from a different perspective and to observe worship in a way I am not able to normally.

It is clear that Youth Sunday is all about joy. I noticed this last year, as well. For example, a number of our kids live at Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services, and more than a few of them can tell you how a relationship with Christ has changed their lives. Some can talk about being embraced by a family called the Church after they were failed by other kinds of family. They share stories of transformation …. and joy.

Joy-filled worship is one of the signs of a healthy church. When we have Youth Sunday, the joy is contagious. It catches on. People talk about it all week long. It’s not that we do not have joy in other services. But Youth Sunday reminds me that we must always be looking for it. We need it.

Lately, I have come to wonder whether joy in worship is not as related to music or worship styles as much as it is related to real sense of our salvation: We have been saved, we are being saved, God will save us.

Many of the youth have an understanding that God has saved them – that sense comes through in their smiles, the volume of their singing, the joyful expression of their worship. First Peter 1:8-9 declares: Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

When the pastor or the liturgist gives the Assurance of Pardon on Sunday mornings, the only appropriate response is joy. Pure joy. Hear the good news! The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might be dead to sin, and alive to all that is good. I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Powerful stuff! Do you believe it?

As I continue to bask in the joy of Youth Sunday, I am going to have in mind more ways that our congregation can discover or rediscover the joy of our salvation in worship – although I will be attune to not introducing this in an artificial or manipulative way. I may even want to find ways that we can incorporate testimony into worship– the lifting up among the people of what God is doing in individual lives in our community and among the congregation.

I think in attempts to experience joy in worship, we church people can get hung up on the wrong questions – questions about worship styles or music. I could be wrong, but I think the better questions surround what it means to be saved.

So …. when do we worship? I think we worship whenever we share the joy of our salvation and express our gratitude to God. But first we need to know what God has saved us from, and what God has saved us for.

What is your answer to these questions?

Some things this Christian pastor is ‘for’

April 16, 2014

A Facebook friend proposed today that fellow Christians use social media only to proclaim what we are “for” on every day that includes a ‘4.’ That, he said, would still leave plenty of other days to point out our theological superiority to others, but at least we would hopefully hit a few days each month in which we would not tear each other down – the 4th, the 14th, the 24th.

I think you get the point. If you spend any time on Facebook or Twitter, there can be no doubt why nonChristians believe that Christians are, well … contentious, judgmental, anti-gay, too political … to name a few. And as I am writing this, I realize that I can no longer in good conscience say this is about those other Christians. I am part of the problem. Within me dwells a divisive spirit that sometimes comes out when I am having dialogue with people who challenge my faith/beliefs. So, in the words of many older saints I have heard over the years expound on the topic of sin, “I’m talkin’ about me!”

We Christians have an image problem. Of course, we will disagree among ourselves on many matters – sometimes spectacularly. And if you have read of the controversies involving the early church, or the squabble between Peter and Paul, you know that we come by it honestly. Yet our continued divisiveness and separation from one another over who is more “pure” – and the ways in which we disagree – act as a form of reverse evangelism, convincing the world that we have nothing more to offer than what the world already has seen. (The world already knows plenty about polarization and divisiveness and separation.)

So maybe it would be a good idea to commit ourselves to trumpeting what we are for – for a change. Some of the Church’s confessional statements certainly do this. And perhaps as individuals we should do it every day, instead of just once in a while. But then again, maybe that is too tall an order.

I have decided to take up my friend’s challenge, yet I know I will never remember to say what I am for on days with a 4. So, I thought I had better just get started on it today.

So here goes. As a Christian, and a pastor, here are some things I am for – realizing that I sometimes fail gloriously at living up to what I am about to proclaim:

– I am for a God who was at the beginning and who will be at the end and is bigger and better, more loving and inclusive than any of us can possibly imagine.
– I am for Jesus and for trying to love others the way he did.
– I am for grace for myself and others.
– I am for potluck dinners.
– I am for reconciliation to God and one another beyond what I can see and imagine and in ways that do not seem at all possible to achieve right now.
– I am for building relationships. Even if you don’t believe anything I believe. Perhaps especially if you do not believe anything I believe.
– I am for hope, even when it is hard to find.
– I am for serving others — especially the poor. No strings attached. (See the second ‘for’).
– I am for seeking the divine image of God in others. Every other.
– I am for reading the Bible with an open mind.
– I am for throwing wide open the doors of Christ’s Church to all people. And all means all.
– I am for social justice.
– I am for the resurrection.
– I am for mercy.
– I am for transformation.
– I am for the Holy Eucharist, as often as possible. And then more often.
– I am for the truth that forgiveness liberates us all.
– I am for trying to find ways for Christ’s Church to be more welcoming to people who are hurting, broken or who have been harmed by the Church.
– I am for community.
– I am for asking questions and leaving lots of room for others to do the same.
– I am for leaving the judgment to God.
– I am for trust – continually renewing my faith and trust in God to forgive me and carry me through even when I fail to live up to the words I proclaim. Because I have been known to fail – spectacularly.

So, I am wondering, fellow Christians: what are you for?

God and the movies

April 8, 2014

I see a lot of films: good films, bad films, so-so films.

There is a name for this: my day off.

I don’t see a lot of overtly religious films. I half-jokingly told my congregation when “Son of God” came out that I don’t normally rush out to see new movies about Jesus because none of them measure up to the book. And I guess I must admit that I am also wary of the cringe-worthy moments that some of these films produce, like white Middle Easterners with English accents.

My local movie theater is offering two movies with the faith-based movie consumer in mind: “Noah” and “God’s Not Dead.” (“Son of God” was also recently showing.) I have not seen any of them.

“God’s Not Dead” feels too predictable. Based on the trailer, I think I might know how this story ends. I am also not a big fan of what seems like another scenario depicting God vs. higher education. I tend to avoid movies that I think want to hit me over the head with a religious message, and I guess I am the same way about churches. I have always preferred the ones that point me toward God rather than try to give me the hard-sell.

“Noah” is getting a lot of attention right now – at least on my Facebook timeline where a (Christian) friend who is involved in promoting the film does constant battle with some evangelicals whom claim the movie is an attack on God. This finally seems to have devolved into an examination of the filmmaker’s faith or lack thereof – as if that had anything to do with whether biblical themes can be depicted, sometimes powerfully, in film. Others, however, have said they just don’t think it is very good movie.

I cannot criticize any of the three movies mentioned since I have not seen them. I am trying to stick to that policy -not tearing down a movie I have not seen or ripping a book I have not read. After all, who knows? If I saw them, perhaps I would have a different impression than what I have taken from trailers or from what others have written. I try to remember that movies, are, well, movies. In certain cases I have found some very flawed theology yet still liked the motion picture or found it had something valuable to offer.

All of this got me thinking about where I have encountered God on the big screen. Here are a few places. Maybe this will prompt your own list.

“Places in the Heart” – Not just my favorite movie with spiritual themes, it is my favorite movie, period. The love and grace and mercy of God, wrapped in mystery, are depicted in one of the most memorable final scenes of any movie ever made, IMHO.

“The Shawshank Redemption” – My TV remote will stop here every single time, whether it is the first, middle or end of the movie. So many powerful biblical themes – particularly hope and redemption. I have used the movie in an Easter morning sermon and in the eulogy for someone who was like a brother to me: “…I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand.” (Apologies for the language at the beginning of this clip).

“Cesar Chavez” – Chavez had the zeal for righteousness of an Old Testament prophet. His Catholic faith, nonviolence and the strength of community are all important parts of the story. On two occasions in the film, the sacrament of Holy Communion is seen as binding the community together in its holy journey toward justice. 

“The Apostle” – another all-time favorite, the story of a Southern Pentecostal preacher with a few issues, to say the least. “Sonny” is a contradictory character who is in an all-out struggle with God and himself – not unlike many of the people we meet in the scriptures.

“A River Runs Through It” – A movie about grace and living, demonstrated through the art of fly fishing, with the main characters being two sons of a Presbyterian minister on different paths in life. The story is told amid the majesty of God’s creation, the Montana setting continually overwhelming the viewer and suggesting the unreachable glory and beauty of the Creator. 

“Bells of St. Mary’s” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are two sappy, dated movies that we watch every Christimastime at our house – and we are drawn into the stories anew, every time. The faith of Father O’Malley and Sister Mary Benedict, and the strength of their convictions, inspires me in “Bells.” “It’s a Wonderful Life” reminds me that we are all connected and influence more lives than we know. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” – Matt. 5:13.

“Freedom Riders” is a powerful experience of the Gospel bringing people together to sacrifice everything, putting their bodies on the line to overcome evil – six months in 1961 when 400 blacks and whites traveled together on buses through the Deep South, enduring savage beatings and imprisonment. It is a story that is terrifying, inspiring and largely forgotten.

So … where have you seen God at the movies? 

Why I Am (Still) a Presbyterian

September 21, 2013

Amen!

christopherjoiner

It happened again yesterday. I lose track in the last nine years how often the question comes, but for some reason yesterday was a tipping point that sends me today to the keyboard and this blog.

Here’s the question (asked sometimes kindly and sometimes with less kindness, but always basically the same):

“Why are you still in the Presbyterian Church (USA)? Don’t you know it is in decline because it is too liberal/too conservative, too traditional/too trendy, too political/not political enough, etc.?”

Well, here’s why.

1. I think God is big, in the sense of sovereign, in the sense of “such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6), in the sense of “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). John Calvin thought this was the most important message of scripture, and the PCUSA thinks…

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People say funny things…about the PC(USA)

September 5, 2013

Reblogged from Adam J. Copeland, whose online presence can be found here:

I’m currently chairing a task force that’s working with a congregation in my presbytery that has expressed strong interest in being dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to another denomination. Suffice it to say: this work is challenging, time consuming, and draining.

A few months ago, the Office of the General Assembly published a document, “Constitutional Musing: Misrepresentations about the PCUSA.” It was a helpful document, but very, umm….a tad formal. Very churchy. (That said, I’m glad OGA finally said something.) So, for our work this congregation considering leaving, I rewrote it. I post it below hoping that it might be helpful for folks in similar positions. Feel free to use and share.

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An informal revision of the official PCUSA document, “Constitutional Musing: Misrepresentations about the PCUSA)” published by the Office of General Assembly
People say things. Who knows where information comes from these days—random websites, blog posts shared on Facebook, old-fashioned rumors? In any case, it’s easy to say stuff about the denomination because there’s no one person who is the denomination. The PCUSA is us; all of us in partnership together.

Ideally, elders, members, and pastors are able to respond to unfounded claims about the PCUSA and correct them before they get blown-up and completely unconnected to reality. This happens often, actually. Someone suggests something outrageous, and a pastor or elder who knows the claim isn’t true kindly corrects it, and all is well. No harm. No foul.

Other times, though, we need to have a more intentional approach. This is one of those times. Here it goes:

1. Some people say that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has distanced itself from historical tenets of the faith, especially identifying the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.

People say funny things. But, let’s be clear: the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority and centrality of the Scriptures are clearly expressed in the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In fact, it’s in black and white on nearly every page!

Want proof? Checkout our foundation in the Reformed tradition found, most notably, in “The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity” in the Book of Order and in The Book of Confessions.

Plus, think about it: every teaching elder, every ruling elder, at their ordinations answer the constitutional questions. If they say “yes,” (or, actually, “I do” and “I will with God’s help”) they are affirming their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and their acceptance of Scripture as the authoritative witness to Jesus Christ and God’s Word to them.

2. Some people say that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has adopted a liberal political agenda as a core mission.

People say funny things. The Book of Order describes the core mission of the church this way: “In Christ, the Church participates in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity by proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s love, offering to all people the grace of God at font and table, and calling all people to discipleship in Christ” (F-1.01).

We’re about discipleship. We’re about the gospel. We’re about evangelism. We’re about God’s mission. Sure, we can’t be Christians without participating in the political process sometimes, but the church is not—and shall never be—a rubber stamp for any political party, politician, or process.

3. Some people say there’s a direct connection between the decline in church membership and a supposed “spiritual illness” in the greater church.

People say funny things. Sure, leaders on all levels of the church are concerned about the decline in Protestant churches across the nation (note: the PCUSA is just one of many denominations in which this is true, including as diverse denominations as Episcopalians and Southern Baptists).

So what’s the rub? There are many and various reasons we’re declining in membership—some reasons might be as simple as demographics, some are more complicated cultural issues such as decline in family structures and changes in how often people move.

The church, in this time of change, should be about what we’ve always tried to be about—discerning Christ’s call to fulfill a dynamic mission in a way most appropriate to the mission field around us.

The Church continues to be “sent to be Christ’s faithful evangelist: making disciples of all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; sharing with others a deep life of worship, prayer, fellowship, and service; and participating in God’s mission to care for the needs of the sick, poor, and lonely; to free people from sin, suffering, and oppression; and to establish Christ’s just, loving, and peaceable rule in the world” (F-1.0302 d).

We’re not taking this lying down, though. Nationally, we have a plan to create 1001 new worshiping communities. To do this, we’re encouraging creative young leaders and finding structures that support the historical faith in innovative ways. Locally, you can work to grow your church in faith and numbers too.

4. Some people say the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is at odds with the global Presbyterian Church.

Getting a group—or even two—Presbyterians in any congregation to agree on everything is pretty much impossible. Sure, there are times, globally and locally, when we disagree.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) now makes it possible for sessions and presbyteries to ordain people without regard to their sexual orientation. For some of our local and global partners, this is a difficult move to understand. But remember, some within our Presbyterian community still object to our decision 50 years ago to ordain women! So, of course, as always, we need to talk more, remain in community, pray together, and strengthen our relationships with humility and love.

Prayer

Guide us, O Lord. Help us when we stray from you. And, when we struggle with our relationships with one another, remind us of our unity in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Living with Responsibility

August 23, 2013

Literal and inerrant?

August 12, 2013

Bible

Genesis 1:1-5; 24-27
John 1:1-18
“The Word of the Lord”
Part 1 of a sermon series based on questions from the congregation. Delivered at Central Presbyterian Church, Waxahachie, Texas, on Aug. 4, 2013.

By The Rev. Matt Curry

In Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent novel The Poisonwood Bible, there is a point when Adah remembers a particular day in her childhood Sunday school class when what she had always been taught just didn’t make sense anymore.
The problem she was having was that it seemed admission to heaven was handed out by the luck of the draw. She had the good fortune to have been born within earshot of a preacher, her father, but what about children who were not – those for example, who grew up in the Congo, having never heard the Gospel? Would our Lord, she wondered out loud, be such a “hit or miss kind of Savior” as that? Would he condemn some children to suffer eternally for the accident of their birth and reward others for a privilege they did nothing to earn?
Seizing upon what she found to be an obvious point of contention with her Sunday school teacher, she was surprised when she looked around and no one was willing to join her in pushing this debate. Her teacher, Miss Betty, responded by sending her to the corner for the rest of the hour to pray for her salvation while kneeling on grains of uncooked rice. Adah recalled: “When I finally got up, with sharp grains imbedded in my knees, I found, to my surprise, that I no longer believed in God.”
For many people, there comes a time when particular passages in the Bible cannot be reconciled with real life questions, or when common sense or education or scientific discovery raise doubts about what was previously considered to be a rock solid biblical claim. For some, such an event as this in a human life marks the end of faith, as it did for Adah – a time to give up what cannot or will not be explained and simply move on, laying religious faith aside as something that has been outgrown.
Others attempt to reconcile the new information with their faith in God and how they read the Bible.
Historically, though, still some others have responded to this challenge by devising a system of biblical interpretation known as inerrancy.
The question before us today – the topic you have selected for me – is the following: Is the Bible the literal, inerrant word of God? Let me add this: If it is not, how then is the Bible authoritative for us? What do we mean when we say, “This is the Word of the Lord”?
Literalism suggests meaning is plain: The Bible says what it means and means what it says! Inerrancy holds that passages are free from any kind of error. To be inerrant, each passage must be able to stand on its own as factual. To accept the Bible as the literal inerrant word of God has a certain ring to it that suggests this was something chiseled into stone along with the Ten Commandments.
Yet the term inerrancy is not in the Bible, and the biblical writers had no concept that for something to be true, it had to be factually accurate. This concern only surfaced at the time of the Enlightenment when everything began to be ordered to the bar of human reason in order to be judged as worthwhile. This way of understanding our world continues to have deep impact on our lives today, in some ways I think sapping our lives of the beauty – and dare I say, truth – of mystery and miracle. Numerous differences in the four Gospel accounts did not trouble early Christians, who saw it fitting that God’s truth was too large to be reduced to one perspective. But beginning in the 18th and 19th centuries, a growing reliance on reason and increasing scientific discoveries left believers with questions that they could not easily answer. Discoveries related to the history of our earth could not be reconciled with a literal reading of Genesis. And what to do about the theory of evolution? One way that people addressed these kinds of problems was to hunker down and say, well, everything in the Bible is factually accurate. Then, as increased discovery of errors and inconsistencies in the various manuscripts that are out there made that argument untenable, there came the claim that, well, the Bible must then be inerrant in its original manuscripts – but, of course, we don’t have any original manuscripts and never will. There is no way that claim can ever be verified.
Most Christians throughout history have not read the bible literally as they might a history or science book. Many of the Christian Church’s foremost early theologians did not subscribe to anything approaching inerrancy and many were adamantly opposed. Saint Augustine found the notion that Christians took literally stories like Jonah spending three days in the belly of a whale an obstacle to his conversion. He only began to contemplate taking the Bible and those who read it seriously when Ambrose, bishop of Milan, introduced him to allegorical interpretation – that stories can point to spiritual realities rather than historical facts. Augustine came to advocate flexible biblical interpretation that could be adjusted in light of what one learned about the natural world, since both Scripture and the natural world share a common source.
Inerrancy commits one to factual accuracy of individual texts. Does the Lord, for example, heal all our diseases, as it states in Psalm 103:3? Was Jesus only sent to the lost sheep of Israel, Matthew 15:24? Will all liars end up in the lake of burning sulphur? Revelation 21:8. Do great sea monsters guard the edge of the sea, as in Job 41 or Psalm 104?
And we are told we must take all scripture with the same level of importance. Should God’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites, their men, women, children, infants and animals, or the apostolic instruction that slaves obey their masters, or that women stay silent in the church, be vested with the same authority with the proclamation that God was in Christ and that in him there is a new, inclusive community (Galatians 3:28)?
Must we risk turning the life-giving authority of scripture into a deadening authoritarianism?
Now, I understand, if you are a devoted advocate of biblical inerrancy, you are not going to like my sermon very much today. But let me say this: I am not here today to call you out as wrong, or to say you need to do it my way, or that you are not welcome in this church to read the Bible in the way that you feel convicted to read it. Please do not leave here with that message. In fact, I believe we find that the Holy Spirit delivers meaning to us in the midst of discussions of people who have various backgrounds and understandings – and I welcome that. My sermon today is for those who feel that they have trouble maintaining their faith in light of what they have been taught about biblical literalism and inerrancy. I’m here to say there is another way – and that way is not the product of New Age thinking or liberal theologians, but it is how devout Christians have read the bible for centuries – seriously and authoritatively and as the inspired word of God, though not inerrant.
That way is to read the Bible not as a history or a science book but as inspired accounts of the witness to the love of God at work in the world – and not just any witness, but the witness above all others. The biblical authority then comes not from what the Bible is, but what it does, which is to put us in relationship with Jesus Christ. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book,” the writer of the Gospel of John declares in Chapter 20. “But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
The Bible contains many literary forms: poems, songs, parables. To insist on their factual accuracy is to miss the point of what these stories mean and how they convey the presence of God into a community and into the human heart. It is about a message of reconciliation, taken as a whole and its ability to transform when read and pondered and interpreted in the community of Christ followers.
At the age of 27, novelist Frederick Buechner moved to New York but found himself unable to write anything and contemplated changing careers. Uncharacteristically, simply because the building sat a block from his apartment, Buechner began attending the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, pastored by George Buttrick. At the time of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, Buechner heard a sermon that changed his life. Buttrick was contrasting Elizabeth’s coronation with the coronation of Jesus in the believer’s heart, which he said, should take place among confession and tears.
Buechner later wrote, “And then with his head bobbing up and down so that his glasses glittered, he said in his odd, sandy voice, the voice of an old nurse, that the coronation of Jesus took place among confession and tears and then, as God was and is my witness, great laughter, he said. Jesus is crowned among confession and tears and great laughter, and at the phrase great laughter, for reasons that I have never satisfactorily understood, the great wall of China crumbled and Atlantis rose up out of the sea, and on Madison Avenue, at 73rd Street, tears leapt from my eyes as though I had been struck across the face.” This is the Living Word, which cannot be confined by a book.
The great 20th Century theologian Karl Barth described the scriptural witness as like that of the figure John the Baptist in a Matthias Grunewald painting in which he points with his abnormally long index finger to the crucified Lord. The inscription says: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
A witness never points not to itself, but to something greater. And so the Bible is the Word of the Lord in a derivative sense. The living word of God is Jesus Christ, and we are brought into relationship with him through the witness of Scripture.
I have some sympathy for Miss Betty the Sunday school teacher in the novel The Poisonwood Bible, faced with biblical questions that are difficult to reconcile. It would not have made for as good a book, perhaps, but I kind of wish that when Adah asked about the eternal destination of those who had never heard about Christ, that Miss Betty would have said something like this: “Well Adah, you are right that scripture does say in the Gospel of John that the only way to the father is through the son, but you know, Jesus in another place in John makes mention of having other sheep. So maybe we can talk about that. And you know, in the Book of Acts, Chapter 10, Peter says he has come to understand that God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
“You know, Adah, now that you mention it, we also have a passage in Matthew about final judgment, and it makes no mention of a declaration of faith – only Jesus as the judge, and his judgment for all people based on who did right by the hungry and the thirsty and the impoverished and the sick and the prisoner, and who did not. So maybe we can discuss that too.”
“Adah,” I might have Betty say, “ultimately we will probably just have to leave it up to God, and what is it you kids say? ‘God is good. All the time’?”
Based on what we know about the love of God in Jesus Christ, I must say it makes no sense to me either that God would be a hit or miss kind of savior. But I am encouraged that the same God who inspired the holy scriptures and sent Jesus gave us science to explore the mysteries of our world and minds to ponder the great theological questions. And knowing that the psalmist says God’s love for us reaching as high as the heavens, we can believe I think that it reaches around the world, as well. This, too, is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.