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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Getting to the good stuff.


It's getting close to spaghetti sauce making season. I chuckle every year when I begin this task. I try to recount all the hours poured into planting seeds, watering, weeding, pruning, and then harvesting. Factor in ripe tomatoes need washed and then blanched to remove the skins and it becomes obvious that there is a lot to be done. We're not done yet. There are the seeds to remove and then the cooking process begins. (Wouldn't it be easier to walk into the grocery store and buy a few cans of sauce when you need it? Yes. Yes it would.)

The most tedious task for me is in cooking down the tomatoes. Adding all the spices, salt, sugar, peppers, onions, and other ingredients turns the kitchen into a potpourri of delicious smells. This part of the process requires a removal of the liquid in the tomato slurry. Hours and hours of boiling and stirring eventually gets one to the thicker paste known as tomato sauce. Clearly the longer one boils the mixture, the thicker it gets. When sauce becomes thick, then you have reached the 'good stuff' phase. I could certainly cut corners and leave out a few steps of the process, but it might not produce the desired result.

613 Laws to govern how we live seems a bit much! 613, that is a number many believe encompasses all the individual laws found in the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament. Reading these laws can become tedious and in some cases one might question if some of the laws even speak to our current situation. Admittedly, not many of us own a bull (Exodus 21:28) or put parapets around our roof (Deuteronomy 22:8).

My Old Testament professor, Dr. Dave Dorsey, proposed the idea that we may not all own a bull or put parapets around our house roof. We do make sure our park brake is set on our car so it doesn't drift into the neighbor's yard and hurt anyone. We do put a fence around our yard or pool to prevent another from getting injured on our property. Dr. Dorsey taught us to consider that each law at its core held an important connection for us. He believed one could see the protective loving nature of God. In each of the 613 laws, I see a God who loves and wants to protect his creation. I see God putting boundaries in place to provide security and a sense of peace (The Good Stuff!).

My New Testament professor, Dr. Doug Buckwalter, richly taught us about Jesus Christ and the authority of the Son of God. Jesus proposed two commandments that fulfill the Law and Prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40) Always, the message of God's love for humanity is first and foremost.

Now we turn to look at all the laws we have to obey in the state of Pennsylvania. Well, we won't look at all of them. We don't have that kind of time. Why are there so many laws for citizens to obey? What happens when we step over the line and choose to not follow the laws? Oh, to look in the rearview and see those red and blue flashing lights bearing down on your back bumper.

Officer: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?

Me: No sir, I do not.

Officer: I have you clocked at 75 MPH in a 55 mile speed limit zone.

Me: Oh!

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which

God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who

rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring

judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do

you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend

you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the

sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the

wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible

punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s

servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay

taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." (Romans 13:1-7, NIV)

Today, allow God's word to be your guide, Jesus to be your Lord, and the protective nature of both to guide your steps (The Good Stuff!)

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