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I Know That My Redeemer Lives!

November 5, 2016

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Denise and I finally went hiking in Rocky today after a very long absence. Each day as I pulled out of our condo complex and turned towards the church, I would look to the left (West) and almost hear the mountains calling us to hike. For a variety of reasons, we have not been able to hike in the Park since August. Today we hiked from Bear Lake to Nymph Lake and then to Dream Lake before retracing our steps back to the car and then to lunch with good friends and a presentation at the Estes Park Public Library. A busy Saturday after a busy week, including Friday which is occasionally our Sabbath. Maybe that is why it has been so long since we have hit the hiking trails…

Nymph Lake was beautifully still and offered some stunning reflections of the trees and the mountains surrounding her. The lily pads are gone for the season and there was some snow on the ground.

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Dream Lake was covered with a thin sheet of ice and magical as always.

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The hike was a good way to pray and ponder the Scripture readings for tomorrow. I have been struggling all week with the sermon and with the upcoming elections. I have sadly watched people turn into vicious and mean-spirited monsters on Social Media… I have watched as families have gone to opposite corners and come out fighting like fiends. I have watched friendships destroyed because of polarization and hate on a level that I have NEVER seen before in a presidential election. I have groaned out prayers… I have wept tears of sorrow and pain… I have screamed out loud in response to hatred, misogyny, bigotry, fear-mongering, vitriol, venom, bigotry, and all other sorts of evil being spewed out in the name of religion… in the name of politics… in the name of God!

My heart has literally cried out: “How long, O Lord, will this insanity continue?” It was at times like this that the words of Job 19:23-27a came to my heart. “O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”

In these days of darkness, I have needed to have these words inscribed on my heart! I know that my Redeemer lives! Years ago when I was in High School, our choir was invited to be a part of the Community Chorus and along with the Austin (MN) Symphony Orchestra we performed Handel’s Messiah. This link is NOT from the performance I was a part of, but if you are interested, it is the piece that has been on my heart and mind. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

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This young Rocky Mountain Elk is the subject of tomorrow’s bulletin cover. The following is what I added as an explanation below the picture: “Our local herd was hanging around the church a couple of weeks ago. One of the things I found interesting was the fact that there were two bulls rather close to each other. They were both exhausted and sleeping. This youngster, however, was wide awake. This image came to mind as I read the passages from Job and Luke for today’s service. Despite the exhaustion of the bulls, the young elk almost shouts out Job 19:25 — “I know that my redeemer lives…”. it speaks to me of hope even when life events have us completely exhausted!”

Job cried out to the Lord in the midst of his agony and, frankly, I cry out to the Lord in our communal agony. With so much darkness that has been unleashed by people who think nothing of arming up and spreading fear by weapons as well as by words, our community is in agony. I thought I had seen the dark side of humanity when President Obama ran for office and for re-election. Racism that many had hoped died long ago, returned with a vengeance. Now we have the first woman running as a candidate from one of the two major political parties for President. The vile hatred spewed towards her and towards the sitting President of the United States is horrifying. All sorts of “patriots” (and I use that term very loosely) are doing everything from “playing war games” in preparation for what they see as a coming Armageddon to intimidating voters by standing out in front of polling places armed with their weapons. My God, where has the civility gone?!

So yes, dear reader, this has been a week of prayer, tears, and more prayers. Denise and I will be at our beloved Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia next week for the final “residential” course of our Certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation program. We have both voted and our prayers for this nation continue. We also continue to wonder how we as a country have lost our way. When did we lose the script? And WHEN did so-called christians (yes, lower case is intentional) lose sight of Jesus!

That brings me to the Gospel reading for tomorrow. An interesting thing happens in this particular reading. The Sadducees actually team up with the Pharisees to attempt to trap Jesus. The Sadducees were typically not exactly cozy with the Pharisees. The Sadducees recognized only the Torah (first five books of the Bible) as completely authoritative and since the resurrection from the dead is not mentioned in the Torah, they didn’t believe in it. However, as the ones who had primary authority over the Temple, they were pretty ticked off at Jesus for his condemnation of the sacrificial system. For that reason, they were willing to put aside their differences with the Pharisees in order to attack Jesus.

So they bring to Jesus the question about the poor woman who not only lost her husband but also six succeeding husbands who were her brothers-in-law. Under the law of Moses a widow who had no children with her husband was to marry his brothers in an effort to keep the family line going. Jesus takes a dig at the non-resurrection believing Sadducees with his response. Well fellows, in the resurrection, which you don’t believe in, the rules are different! Being married in order to carry on the family line is a non-issue!

So what do we do with this today? The Sadducees and Pharisees and Priests were so obsessed with tripping up Jesus and maintaining their positions of power and authority over others that they forgot what living a life of faith was all about. All of them believed in the Law and yet they had completely forgotten about what the Law was supposed to be about. Gee fellows, how about loving God and loving Neighbor?

That is where your Padre is tonight, dear reader. Regarding Washington, D.C… have the elected leaders forgotten what they are supposed to be about? Instead of ambushing the  sitting President, how about working with the President and all parties to govern this nation and care for her people… ALL of her  people!

About the time I find myself slipping into despair and depression, I remember once again the words of Job… “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth…”. And in that promise I find hope as I pray… My redeemer isn’t a political party… my redeemer isn’t an elected official… my redeemer isn’t a weapon or siege mentality… my redeemer is the one who says Love God and Love EVERY Neighbor! And in that redeemer I find hope for our future!

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5 Comments
  1. Good questions & a great reflection. Btw my husband and I took that same hike 2 summers ago–incredible beauty!

    • Thank you, Nancie 💕

      Yes, a beautiful hike. Let me know the next time you are coming to the Rockies… Moore B&B!

  2. Bob permalink

    No matter how the election turns out, God still loves us. God still forgives us. we are still creatures surrounded by grace. And cannot this not only bring us great comfort but inspire us to better follow and serve the living Lord?

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