Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Parish Theme- May

For those of you logging on for this weeks One Year Bible study, I hate to say it will not be posted until tomorrow at the end of the day. I was with the youth at CrossRoads retreat this weekend and then I was at a conference all day on Monday and Tuesday. In the mean time here is a devotion on our parish theme for this month written by Pastor K. This will be our theme this Sunday as well. Enjoy.....

A funny thing happened to me on the way to lunch. I know that is the lead line to an old joke. I'm not telling that old joke. However, a funny thing did happen to me on the way to lunch the other day. A friend from Bethany and I were going out to lunch and as we were walking to the restaurant there was an altercation between two cars on the street right in front of us. To be honest it wasn't all that serious of an event. Someone went through a solid yellow light. Now I am not defending running a very yellow light when you have plenty of time to stop and can safely do so! I will also freely admit that I don't like it when people run them as I am waiting to make a left hand turn without assistance of an arrow. Yet, we've all had it done to us. In this case, no one was injured. No paint was exchanged, no brakes were overheated and no rubber was left on the pavement. Someone who had plenty of time to stop but didn't. They decided to push it, instead of braking at the yellow the accelerated through the intersection. The "funny" thing was the reaction of the man waiting to make that turn. He didn't miss his light! No damage was caused to his body nor to his car. He didn't narrowly avoid death or injury. He lost an estimated 3-5 seconds and himself was forced to be sitting in the intersection for a second or two as the light turned from yellow to red. Then he went ballistic! Cursing and yelling and gesturing and fuming. He was beat red. It actually wasn't all that funny but really rather sad when you actually think about it for a moment. I was witnessing a case of Road-Rage.

Some might say that is what the disciples saw as Jesus cleared the Temple courts. The story is recorded in all four Gospels. (Mt 21; Mk 11; Lk 19 & Jn 2) Jesus turned over the tables and chairs of the money changers. He drove out the merchants and scattered the live-stock to be sold for sacrifice. He yelled, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a den of thieves." He chased them down the proverbial street. He became enraged on the road to worship. Unlike the driver I saw the other week, Jesus' rage was out of the abuse of power, the routine of worship without devotion and the affront to God the Father Himself.

Funny thing is that in my journey through life I seem to get more upset with things that inconvenience me rather than that which insults God. Sad really. Perhaps it is because I've become far to comfortable in the world and only when my comfort is disrupted do I get enraged. Sure I get upset with evil, with abuse of the power, neglect of the helpless, violence upon the defenseless, persecution upon the faithful. But when I really seem to go ballistic, like the guy at the intersection, is when my comfort, timetable, or plans are threatened. Now, neither the Lord, the above texts, nor is this letter, is calling for a jihad against that which affronts and offends God. The point of none of them is when to curse, yell, gesture and fume. But perhaps the point of each of them is to challenge us to remember that we weren't made for this world, we belong somewhere else and we when experience "road-rage" on our journey at that which inconveniences us while not being stirred nearly as deeply by that which offends God, we may have become far to comfortable in the world. It is for that sin too that God poured out the fullness of His wrath upon Christ as He hung on the cross. Now as His forgiven children, may His Spirit lead us as pilgrim and strangers through this world and servants of that which is to come while we are here.

--Pastor K


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