Sunday, July 14, 2019

God of all, partner with us for good

On Saturday evening, as the sun set, my friend Dave and I were getting ready to engage in some astronomy. Dave has the full set-up...a telescope that is so powerful that I was only able to fit about 1/8 of the moon in the frame, and wow! What incredible detail! It was an incredible experience to see the moon with so much magnification and in so much detail, to look at the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and a number of stars and satellites. I'm grateful that Dave invited me up to his place for this experience, and it gets me thinking about some pretty big and significant stuff.

At the heart of the Christian faith tradition is this belief; that the God who created the universe and everything in it loves what has been created so much that God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ. That's what is meant when we express belief that Jesus is God incarnate (or to say it another way, "God in the flesh"). How amazing is it to consider that the God who created the whole universe and everything in it becomes part of the masterpiece that God had created in order to show us how to live and to help us to grow into our full potential as human beings?

How amazing is it to consider that over the course of 3.5 billion years God has been and continues to create order out of chaos, life out of death, and new things out of nothing on planet earth? How awesome is it to consider that God, the creator of all things, loves God's creation so much that God became part of what God had made in the person of Jesus?

And in the most incredible turn of events in the life of Jesus who the Christian tradition understands to be the earthly manifestation of God who transcends time and space (a paradox!) suffered, died, was placed in a tomb, but rose from the grave three days later! The message of the death and resurrection of Jesus is good news for us that nothing can stop the power of God's love; not even death, and not even the most evil, oppressive, and manipulative forces in the world.

Jesus said to his disciples, "in this world you will have sorrow and you will have trouble, but take courage because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Jesus also articulated the good news of the Kingdom of God in this way, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come." (Luke 4:18-19)

I would invite each of us to consider what trouble and sorrow we carry in our hearts; consider the love God has shown for all that has life in the person of Jesus. Know this; that there is no anger, frustration, sorrow, or trouble we experience in our lives that is so big that God can't handle it. I encourage all of us to bring our troubles and our sorrows before God in prayer, and to share that which burdens us with at least one trusted friend. God is big enough and strong enough to bring order out of chaos, life out of death, new things out of nothing, and hope out of despair in your life and mine and God will often use the other people in our lives to make that happen.

Also consider this; that the Good News of the Kingdom of God is a participatory endeavor; as we pray like this:

"Change the desires of my heart, loving God, so it beats in tune with yours; and may the changes you're bringing about within me find expression in my living,"

I hope that we will all find ways to partner with God and with each other to bring good news to the poor, release to those held captive, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed.

Thanks be to God the creator of all things in time and space and to Jesus, the one through whom God comes to be with us, and to show us the way of love and of peace.


(Dave setting up his telescope)

(Jupiter and its moons)

(Our moon- super close-up!)

(Our moon- a little less close-up)

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