First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Heads or tails?

October 31, 2015

    If I told you I just harvested the biggest appange off the trush in the back yaeld, what would you think? You would think I may have fell and bumped my head or strange drugs have been introduced into my body. Actually, you would be incorrect on both counts.

  The first sentence above contains odd looking words that are two real words merged together. In merging them, a nonsense word has been created. I'm certain Merriam Webster will not be calling me any time soon to introduce these into the latest dictionary.

    The sentence 'decrypted' reads this way, "If I told you I just harvested the biggest apple/orange off the tree/bush in the back yard/field, what would you think?"  I can see your eyes glazing over a bit. You are wondering,"What kind of mindless drivel is "A Musing Pastor" selling this morning?"

    Well, I'm glad you asked, because I have been seeing this word merging going on a lot lately. Not only word merging but philosophies and theologies as well. Take for instance the great concern one has when they are facing surgery or illness. Having a pastor come to offer encouragement and prayer is most often welcomed. When faced with unknowns we need to be reminded of God's abiding presence.  As pastor, it would sound silly, maybe even heretical for me to offer a meaningful prayer to one who is afraid then on parting say, well, good luck tomorrow.  The person facing unknowns might say, "Which is it pastor? Is God with me or should I just flip a coin? I'm more confused and fearful now then before you arrived."  

 

    We could go into a whole discussion of probability and standard deviation and analyze how many times a coin will land heads up if tossed in the air 100 times. We don't have time or room here to follow that rabbit trail. 

    When conversing with those facing crisis, if I use words like 'luck'and 'thinking positive thoughts', then I have demoralized them. I can't sit on an invisible fence comprised of faith and hocus-pocus. God either is or God isn't. There is no in between. I see many people mixing their God faith with any number of other supposed helps that range from horoscope readings to something that must be shared on Facebook in order for us to receive a blessing from God.... STOP! That's not how this works, it's not how any of this works.

    Perhaps, those who offer 'good luck' to people facing crisis have been disappointed by God or don't believe in God. That is understandable. In fact, God allows that kind of doubt. However, one should never 'pay forward' their own doubt and disappointment to one who needs an anchor on which to cling. Doubt and disappointment should never be conveyed to one facing cancer surgery and radiation, It should never be offered to one who has just lost a spouse, child, or job.  Offering 'good luck' to a person suggests flipping a coin will bring as much comfort as anything else. How hollow and flimsy!

    Believing God to be working in these perilous times allows faith and trust to strengthen and help one move forward with a sense of calm. If luck and fate are all we have to hold on to, then we have no hope. One without hope will lose their way and live a lonely life. The next time you minister to one in crisis, pray with them and call upon God who can bring calm in the midst of any storm. God alone can do this. Go be blessed and bless someone; luck will have nothing to do with it.

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