Deuteronomy 28:10 (The Message)
All the peoples on earth will see you living under the name of God and hold you in respectful awe.
Perhaps in these pandemic days, it would be wise NOT to read the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy. The first part isn’t bad, though. Of course, I wonder how accurate it is. The Amish probably live a greater quality of life in their quiet ways and we might hold them in respectful awe...but then we wink and say “Better them than us. We like our electricity!”
People who have been truly devoted to God in our lives have been maligned. John Wesley and his holy club were called Methodists in derision. When my fraternity was first established at my United Methodist College as a Methodist Men’s fraternity, we were called (in derision...by other students AT the college) the God Squad. Being a religious fraternity did nothing for our sports reputation, either. We were eaten alive on the intramural football field. We would fall hopelessly behind and, finally, decide it was time for the “Dead Dog on 2” play in which the ball was hiked and we all just fell down like dead dogs. The other team was puzzled. Then we jumped up and ran the play. It always lost yardage.
Today, in the pandemic world, the church is still not taken seriously; other than being a place of possible infection OR an entity which places an unreal expectation on God that God will protect us. Love, grace, forgiveness, peace...those are the marks of weakness and defeat. Pomp, greed, egotism, bluster, and greatness are the marks of strength and victory.
But, folks, this is historical. It’s the way it’s always been. Even the church of Jesus Christ has had eras of pomp, greed, egotism, bluster, and greatness. But history shows us that, over and over again, love and grace and peace and forgiveness has overcome them all. Even churches that have inner struggles eventually stop (usually with a few nice funerals) because the people just get tired of bickering.
I don’t know what the future holds, other than the fact that we will, one day, return to love, grace, forgiveness, and peace. We will. It’s the way God has ordered the world because our creation stories are stories of peace. Jesus came in peace and love and he was crucified. But he won, anyway. We may not win in the greatness category, but we will win in the love category. Yes. We will. And that...will be awesome.
Dear Master, in whose life I see
All that I would, but fail to be,
Let thy clear light forever shine,
To shame and guide this life of mine.
Though what I dream and what I do
In my weak days are always two,
Help me, oppressed by things undone,
O thou whose deeds and dreams were one! Amen.
Pastor Rick Moser