Happening Now Blog

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Wednesday Message

"It is the will of God."

I always flinch a little when I hear these words. It has nothing to do with God's presence in the world which I believe is always there and always at work. It has nothing to do with a notion that sometimes God wins, sometimes God lets evil win; God's purposes are always being worked out, God's kingdom is always being revealed even in the messiness and in the face of the painfulness of the human journey.

I guess I flinch because these half-dozen words seem to be used sometimes to justify the suffering we see in life as well and reinforcing passivity in the face of evil; sometimes these words seem to project an image of God who is be cruel. This image has been popularized by the modern fundamentalist movement in which God has no choice but to torture a person who has not prayed the appropriate prayer.

At the age of 10 my younger sister died after a long journey shaped by cancer. When I heard people say "it is the will of God" I raged within; no god worthy of praise would put a child through the agony and hopelessness she experienced. Rather I experience the God whom Presbyterian and UCC pastor William Sloane Coffin cries out to at the death of his young son: "My own consolation lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God's heart was the first of all our hearts to break." (from the eulogy he delivered at his son's funeral in January, 1983.)

Sunday's gospel reading is a small excerpt from the traditional Maundy Thursday reading from John. The excerpt begins with Judas (the disciple who would sell out Jesus to those who wished him dead) leaving the table. "Now", says Jesus, "the Son of Man is glorified." Scholars point out that the Greek word we read as "glorified" carries with it a sense of a reputation being made; an identity being set forth.

Our God has the reputation of being love and hope even in the face of betrayal, agony and death. God does not ever abandon us in our confusion but joins us in the work of making sense of the world around us as the first place we glimpse God's realm. Anna Madsen, a Lutheran theologian and teacher for the sake of the world, encourages us to seek out God's agenda and not to presume so much to understand the divine will. I appreciate this suggestion as I strive to see God's purpose at work in the world. I hang on to an image of a God who is always re-weaving the loose and broken threads I leave behind into the glorious tapestry of the God who is love, presence, forgiveness and hope

along the way.
pd

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday 7:00 am Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany

Friday      5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am Choir rehearsal
                 10:00 am 4T Hike

Sunday    8:30 & 11:00 am worship
                 1:30 pm OEC
                 Last Scrip Sunday

Last Sunday for Scrip Orders, May 19th


Dinner and Concert!
Please plan to join friends on Saturday, June 8, starting at 5:30 for a spaghetti dinner followed by a special concert at 7:00 by the Transport 5.  It has been several years since we have enjoyed the music of Kevin Cope and the Transport 5, and we are in for a treat! Please take a moment to put your name on the list on the fellowship table and indicate how many of your friends and family will be attending.  That will give our chef, Bill Hessler, an idea of how many to cook for.  Thank you!

Just a reminder
One Service at 10:00 am

May 26th
June 2nd
June 9th

Summer Worship Schedule
starts June 16th

8:30 & 10:30 am worship