Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

January 30, 2018

There is an old saying that goes: “If you just ignore him, he will go away.” 

           I am not sure where this adage came from.  I researched the origin and didn’t get anywhere.  I suppose the saying has just been around so long that no one really knows where it came from.

          The heart of this aphorism is that if we just ignore someone or something long enough, eventually they will go away.  If we ignore something long enough it will sooner or later no longer be a bother us to.

          So, I tried that with my power bill.  Yes, the dreaded power bill came last week and I knew it would be a doozy. 

          After those nine-degree mornings and that snow storm that we had a couple of weeks ago,  I considered that Duke Energy could probably pay an extra dividend off my bill alone. 

          And, there it was in my mailbox.  That dreaded power bill.

          And, yes indeed the temptation was great…to just not open it.  One response of course would have been to have ignored it and hoped it would go away.

          Yes, ignoring it would have been one way to handle it, right up until I am sitting at home in the dark.  Denying and ignoring are always responses, not good ones but responses nonetheless.

          At the core of things, denying and ignoring are fear-driven ways of dealing with things.  We do it all the time and my guess is that we have become so good at denying and ignoring that we may not even recognize when we are doing it.

          Have you ever considered that every single person comes into this world free of fear, falsehood and superstition?  It has been proven that it is generically impossible for us to pass along these traits to our children.

          Fear, falsehood, superstition and denial are learned habits.  For the most part, the world just jumps on us and introduces us to pain, right out of the gate.

          We enter families of origin where a pecking order is already established.  And, if you want to research just how really messed up we are through the lottery of birth order, I have some great study resources that I can recommend.  

          We begin our marathon of institutionalized schooling in life, feeling all confident and everything, only to find out that we do not measure up in multiple ways.  Other kids appear smarter, better dressed, more mature and simply have their acts together better than we do and they are light-years ahead of us.

          Never mind that often there is as much as a year of age difference between the oldest and the youngest kid of a class.  When you are five-years-old that’s a twenty percent difference in maturity level.

          So, we are driven to consider that we do not measure up and this forces us to go into a mental repair shop to fix what really aint broken.  But, we think things are broken.

          I say again, every single person comes into this world free of fear, falsehood and superstition.  Then we learn the human-made stuff.

          So, where in the world am I going with this?  Well, it is to talk about my favorite subject, Jesus!

          Have you ever considered that the true purpose of Christianity is to lead us back to where we came from? 

          (To put a finer point on things, I am speaking of pure, true Christianity, as God intended for it to be without human-made dogmas and doctrine.)

          And, the Bible tells us plainly what God’s vision looks like, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness (Genesis 1:26a NIV).”

          But, we had a fair shot at it, that likeness part.  Even so, God made a way!

          God made a way for us to return to where we came from.  The Bible mentions this numerous times.

          “…keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just (Genesis 18:19b NIV).”

          “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3 NIV).”

          “See, I am setting before you the way of life and theway of death (Jeremiah 21:8 NIV).”  And, we do get to choose!

          “The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk inthem, but the rebellious stumble in them (Hosea 14:19b NIV).”

We are told that Saul persecuted those who were part of the Way, “He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem (Acts 9:2 NIV).”

To watch my grandchildren learn about pain brings me great pain.  How much greater then, does God feel pain watching us hurt.

We know how much our pain matters to God.  God emptied self on the cross to demonstrate this mysterious love.

What if…what if today we decided that our mission was a simple one, one of just reducing pain wherever we saw it?  At the very least, why not decide to stop perpetuating it?

There is a new hymn out by Tasha Cobb by the title of Break Every Chain:

There is power in the name of Jesus…
to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtyVdC7E6Wo   

          God has made a way to break every chain that has damaged us in this life.  We can be born again.  There is a promised land.

          So, I opened my power bill.  It was painful.  But, my family and I were warm.  It was a pretty good trade!

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