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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Signs of the Divine.

"Why I oughta!" "You imbecile!" "You knucklehead!" "Oh, a wise guy, eh?" "What's the big idea here?"

Many of us can read the preceding sentences and immediately identify the source. From the late 1920s to the early 1970s, The Three Stooges provided their brand of vaudeville slapstick comedy. Physical violence was the centerpiece of their act but it was the quotes that made the show. Moe, Curly, and Larry slapped, bonked, and ker-powed their way into our hearts and gave us relief from the world around us. There is nothing better for the senses than a "Three Stooges" marathon.

The crux of the show revolved around well intentioned acts that turned hilarious and then ran to a fevered pitch near the end of the episode. Throughout the show, Curly or Larry would do something silly and Moe would say, "Why I oughta!" and then proceed to conk them. Curly and Larry's comments were so silly and out of place that Moe had to say and do something to bring them back to reality.

Lately, I have been hearing about people who will be moving out of the country if one candidate wins over another. "Why I oughta!" I have heard close friends say strange things about their deep seated fears over the election. I have seen "Christians" say some pretty 'un' Jesus things to those who disagree with them. It seems as though an episode of "The Three Stooges" is playing out in real time. It makes want to say, "Why I Oughta!" and then do the patented finger poke.

We don't have the market cornered on ill-timed words and hand wringing moments. Jesus had to bring his disciples back to reality from time to time. In essence, the following account could have been written just yesterday or today.

Jesus Calms the Storm

"Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on

the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him,

saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then

he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and

asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27, NIV)

In this account, the disciples were following Jesus and were doing well until the threat of a storm arose and then they completely lost their minds! What happened to those strong minded men Jesus had chosen to be the ones to change the world? Where did those disciples go who had witnessed the feeding of 5000 men not counting women and children? Those same disciples who had seen the power of God through miracles were now questioning Jesus and doubting His divinity. They were asking, "Don't you care Jesus? Don't you care that we are about to die?"

I can easily insert a phrase into this scripture and an image immediately unveils itself. Jesus could wake up, look at the disciples, say, "Why I oughta, and then do the finger poke on each of them.

Read this line again (He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”) and then consider how the people in the USA are flailing about and doubting the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God. Like if a undesirable candidate wins the elections that all is lost. "Why I oughta!"

The scriptures we have to inform us of God's character reveal a God of justice and mercy. These scriptures inform me that even if all of life goes to hell in a handbasket God's meta-narrative (long overarching story) continues and that God can and will redeem even the worst scenarios our fear-filled minds can construct. Friends, look for signs of the divine; yes, even when storms are swirling.

(Consider this picture is a byproduct of a dirty camera lense and the dust particles

floating in the air, yet the sign of the cross is evident.)

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