If you have ever read the Small Catechism, you have noticed the question,
"What does this mean?" In German "Was ist das?" which means, " What is this?"
This question "what is this?" will be central to our new blog.
You are invited to ask your questions on faith, religion, spirituality!
Watching Eddy Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, my mother could not get over how many times he used the "f" word. I think she was shocked and, at the same time, amazed at the language that has become acceptable for adults at least.
Within the church, the "F" word we wrestle with is most often "Forgiveness". Forgiveness is a theme that runs through all the books of the Bible.
This Sunday, Joseph has the option to forgive his brothers for selling him in to slavery and lying to his father that his favorite Son had died or causing them great pain as they had caused him and their father.
Church at Rome is having a problem with people judging one another. Paul says, " Focus on yourself not each other." This is really strong advice yet many refuse to examine their complete lives - the good works and skills and talents with their darkness and sin. It is only when we see our sins can we realize how much forgiveness and grace we have received.
Peter wants to know how many times he should forgive. I like Peter's number approach - counting is measurable. Jesus says that true forgiveness flows form God to us and for us to others - just like God's love, mercy and forgiveness flows. If God counted all our mistakes, we would be the most sorrowful people on earth.
We have hope, joy and forgiveness because God has sent his Son to show us God's forgiveness is as wide and deep as God's very self. May we be filled with shock and awe when we use and receive forgiveness throughout our lives. It is the word of healing, hope, and health for all.
This is the question Martin Luther asked - about almost everything.
Baptism - What is this?
Holy Communion - What is this?
Ten Commandments - What is this?
He was always searching to understand what it means to be a disciples of Jesus and to faithfully follow the way of Christ.
Today, I don't believe people ask the question " What is this?" when it comes to God. Many have written God off as a joke. Others, learned a bit about God when they were young and for them - that was enough.
I learned a lot when I was young ( Sunday School, Church (every Sunday), youth group, Gatherings - and eventually, I walked away as well. Yet, here I am - a pastor of a Lutheran church.
The deeper I go ( study, pray, serve, speak, listen and lean) into the Bible and spiritual practices (especially contemplative prayer) the more I realize how fragile faith truly is in today's world. To me it is like walking a tightrope. Fears, worry and concerns block your view of the Christ. Or you can be so elated with your success, skills, and gifts that you start to believe that every good thing comes not for God but from your hard work!
I have taken vows to be a shepherd to God's people. I am immersed in God's Word and yet - so many other things get me off track -- like feelings of unworthiness or an inability to serve faithfully. Luther struggled from this as well. Perhaps that is why he needed to go back and say, " What is this?" to see God clearly.
What helps you stay in touch with the DIVINE? What questions do you have about God?
Peace, Pastor Kris