Pastor’s Corner – September 2021
Two apples up in a tree were looking down on the world. The first apple said, “Look at all those people fighting, robbing, rioting no one seems willing to get along with his fellow man. Someday we apples will be the only ones left. Then we’ll rule the world.” Replied the second apple, “Which of us the reds or the greens?”
Mark, chapter 4, which we read several weeks ago, contains the parables of Jesus revealing to us the Kingdom of God. These parables remind us to look inside ourselves and examine how we are contributing to the Kingdom. These parables give us hope.
Yet we live in a universe and in a world with huge threats to existence and with sickeningly large social and geopolitical problems. There are meteors hurtling through space, many of which would wipe out life on earth if they struck us. There are dictators harboring or seeking weapons of mass destruction, many of which threaten our survival as a species. In the Middle East but in so many other places, too, there are seemingly inflexible and intense hatreds and prejudices between and among various ethnic groups. There are diseases like Covid 19 and all its variants galloping through continents, killing over 4.5 million people. Hunger and poverty loom up like a whole mountain range of daunting problems whose heights we don’t know how to scale.
Yet in the midst of all these threats from within and from without, in the face of great sin and evil, faced with maladies that are global in scope, we Christian people swing in with no more than that simplest of all messages: Jesus saves. A Jewish carpenter’s son from halfway around the world and from over 2,000 years ago is the one we hold up as some kind of solution. And not a few folks today want to say, “Give me a break!”
To so much of our size-crazed culture, the gospel is too small for the task at hand. In the face of untold millions of starving people, we seem to offer just five loaves and two fish. In the face of trillion-dollar federal and international budgets, we seem to celebrate the widow’s penny going into the collection plate. In the face of hostile terrorists and repressive regimes headed up by the hounds of hell itself, we dispatch lamb-like folks to China and the Sudan and Afghanistan as missionaries witnessing to the Lamb who was slain. None of it seems equal to the task of reaching, much less changing, this sorry and troubled old world. Yet as Mark 4 reminds us, hidden in the midst of all that is a small mystery — hiding the uncontainable glory — of the kingdom of God.
Hope for the best, because God’s grace is sufficient. Amen?
As always, I invite your comments.