Thursday, July 31, 2008

Working Together

A while back a member of the congregation brought me a ceramic cross hand made in Peru. The cross is being carried by a plethora of persons dressed in native Peruvian garb. The note she attached says, "We are working together to serve the Lord."

Sometimes it is hard to remember we are supposed to be working together in service to the Lord. We get side tracked with little issues. We let silly things get in the way of working as one body. Simply disagreements fester. We let hurt feelings become hard feelings and animosity grows within us. Then we are almost surprised when Christ is not at the center of the Church, when God is not glorified in all we do, or when the Spirit is not allowed to lead the Church.

Each of us needs to remember that not only are we, the followers of Jesus, working together to serve the Lord, each of us is in service with Christ. Our service to Christ, our being a disciple, begins with simple acts of piety. . . prayer, searching the scriptures, worship, listening for God's voice to speak.

We serve Christ and we are in service with Christ. We are working together and living together under the reign of God.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


"Why?" This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Think about talking to a two-year old who has just discovered this time-perplexing and mind-numbing question. They ask, "Why do I have a belly button?"
You say something cute like, "Because it is where God kissed you."
"Why?" comes back again.
"Because God loves you."
"Because God loves everybody."
"Why?" "Because God is love."
Well you get the picture.
Giving a close to scientifically correct answer, "You have a belly button because when you were growing in mommy's tummy before you were born, that is where you and mommy were connected." Well, you know the "Why?" is coming and there are details here that you are not really sure you want to explain to a two-year old.

Today, I am struggling with "Why?" I am not two-years old, but the question is haunting me. A 21-year old man died this weekend in a local swimming hole. He is a friend of a member of the congregation where I serve. They met working together for a company that hires adults with learning problems.

As a parent of a child with learning issues (my younger son has Down-Syndrome), I know the family has asked "Why?" many times over the course of 21 years. "Why is our child not like all the rest?" "Why does it have to be so hard?" And now the question for this family has changed to something even more profound, "Why is he gone?" "Why did he have to die?" "Why has God done this to us?"

To try and explain, "Why?" is useless. There is no good answer to this question. If we knew why, it might be more painful than we could endure. And knowing why does not take away the loss. But this does not remove the reality of God's all encompassing GRACE and LOVE. Yes, it still hurts, and yes the questions will still come in the night, "why . . . why . . . why . . . why?" And still God is there with us, holding us, keeping us, weeping with us and for us.

I have no answer to the "Why?" this morning. I can only look to my faith and to the mercy of Christ, who loves us in all things. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, does not insulate us from the many hard things in life. It does remind us that the hard things are not the final answer. The story does not end with a child being born with learning disabilities. The story is not finished at the bottom of swimming hole. The final word is not death. As a follower of Christ, I know the final word is hope for all God's children, life abundant, resurrection is the face of death, future with no limitations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


In a day and time where many young persons in the church are talking about change, I am astounded at how few are talking about and engaging in prayer. My challenge to all the postmoderns out there who are looking to change the church, the world, the way things work, I encourage you to begin to pray.

We do not have to do great things. We are called to do faithful, holy things. I am not saying that we have to spend all of our time praying. I am saying that we must take prayer much more seriously.

If you read these words, take a few moments to stop and pray. Pray for the church to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. Pray for peace and joy to enter your heart and your day. Be the change for which you are hoping. Be the one who is taking the time to pray.