Friday, April 13, 2018

You Are Not Trash

Much of our North American culture is built to be thrown away.

Fast food is served in paper and plastic that's meant to be disposed after use and most groceries are sold in packaging that's thrown away after use. Most minor appliances are cheaper to replace than repair. It's expected that devices like cell phones will be replaced every 18-24 months. The average American creates about 4.4 pounds of trash per day.

It safe to say that we expect many things in our lives be temporary and quickly obsolete.

But that's not how God operates.

The Bible tells of a God that refuses to give up and throw away his people. Though they complain about God in the wilderness. Though their rejection of God leads to exile. Though they crucify Jesus. God sticks by God's promises to redeem, repair, and resurrect those in need. It strikes me that even in Revelation, the image of the new creation is not one where the earth is eliminated, but is made perfect and complete by the arrival of heaven.

There's an important lesson in that I strive to remember from time to time. You are not trash to God. God won't throw us away. God's grace isn't temporary.

The Reality of God isn't a throw away culture.

From the Gray,
Pastor Ari

"And in this day when something's worth is based on what someone would pay, it's nice to know I'm worth one Jesus to You." -Everybodyduck, "Tetelestai"

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Where To Start...

On Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), the worship service in my tradition begins with the sermon. In explaining this change, the worship reference book* says, "The relocation of the sermon enables the preacher to deal with the various aspects of the theme of Jesus' love as a background for the entire service." In other words, we start with Jesus' love because everything in this worship is about Jesus' love.

As I read that this year, it gave me two thoughts.

First, that is a good summary for Lutheran theology. Jesus' love is the background for everything. Because salvation/eternal life/reconciliation is a gift from God, God's love and grace is the beginning of and background to everything we believe and do. Nothing begins without God's love.

That led to my second thought: what if I tried to live with that thought always in mind?

  • My day begins because of Jesus' love. 
  • I will begin this email with Jesus' love. 
  • Jesus' love will be in the background of this difficult conversation. 
  • How is Jesus' love in the background of this meeting? Of this meal with loved ones?
  • I will write this blog with Jesus' love...
This week I'm playing around with what that looks like for me. How about you? How would treating Jesus' love as the beginning and background to all you do change how you speak, think, and act (or react)? 

From the Gray,
Pastor Ari

"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start." -The Sound of Music, "Do Re Mi"

*(Lutheran Book of Worship: Ministers Desk Edition for anyone who cares.)