From the Pastor
Brothers in Christ:
Recently, I ran
into a friend at the grocery store and she had her little 6-year-old with
her. This little girl was so
eager to tell me a joke, an elephant joke. I haven’t heard an elephant joke
since high school. Anyway, it made me think of the well-known story of the
elephant and the blind men. The version I remember is that a group of blind
men all touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one touches a
different part of the animal. Based on the part that each one touched, they
try to come to a larger picture, or truth, about what the whole elephant is
like. For example, one touched the ear and decides the elephant is a wicker
basket. To the one who touched the head, the elephant was a pot. One touches
the tip of the tail and concludes the elephant is a brush. To another who
touches the leg, the elephant is a tree. You get the idea. When they get
together and compare their experiences and conclusions, they discover they
disagree on what an elephant is like. Each blind man has his own view of
reality, depending upon where he touched the elephant. I am not sure if
there is a moral to this story, but someone once said that truth is like an
elephant surrounded by blind men.
we say GOD is truth. We might
use the above image to say God is like an elephant surrounded by blind men.
Each one is trying to find the reality of God only in what we see and touch.
I believe he
was thinking of the story of the blind men and the elephant when Edwin
Friedman wrote, “I touch the elephant wherever the elephant appears.” I
think he was trying to say that the elephant is so large that it is
impossible for anyone to comprehend the whole animal. Or that one can only
observe what is in front of him or her. The elephant is too huge to handle
in its entirety. It can only be described by what is experienced in the
So many times,
we try to discover everything about God by looking in all the places we are
not sure God is. We look at the tragedies of our world, for example, and
wonder where God could be in the face of such a thing. We often try to
define who God is by what we feel or think or deduce from our own
experience. We create the whole of God from our small bit of perception.
Some of the time we try to put our own perceptions together with that of
others. Who does the world say God is or should be? Who do others say God is
based on their experience? Yet even then, God is too large in His entirety
for us to handle.
Each week, I
encounter many people from our surrounding churches in the community and
here at All Saints as we gather for worship.
What I have discovered is that I touch God wherever God appears.
(Better yet, God touches me wherever God appears.)
God is only known from what God chooses to reveal to us.
We know what is at hand because God is at hand. This is the beauty
and mystery of our worship. God appears. God promises to appear when we
gather around God’s word and sacraments. No guessing. Here the wholeness of
God is set aside in the “for you” of the Gospel promise. “I baptize you into
the body of Christ. This is my body, my blood, given for you. I forgive you
all your sins.” This is not your view of God as you grope and search for and
touch it. This is the reality of God touching you.
our Lord is the one who opened the eyes of the blind, even those eyes who
weren’t looking for sight. How sad it is, that so many in our culture have
abandoned worship as meaningless (or at least not as meaningful as other
things) because they feel like they don’t get anything out of it.
Is this a blind man’s view of reality?
What could be more real and meaningful than being touched by an
elephant, OR by the living God? Perhaps we should think more on this come
O.K. O.K. I
know you are dying to know what the elephant joke is.
Q: Why did the elephants wear sunglasses?
A: With all the bad elephant
jokes going around, they did not want to be recognized. Hmmmmmm
you as enter into these 40 days of Lent.
together, Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know?
A few years
ago, instead of giving something up, I brought up the idea to practice 40
days of kindness. Find a way to
do something simple each day in an unexpected way: spending time with
others, extending generosity and compassion. Remember Jesus’ promise that
when you care for others, you care for him (Matthew 25:31-46). Only you know
what is realistic but a Lent discipline needs to be something that will
challenge you and help you to remember what God has done for you and
continues to do for you.
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther
said. . . . ???
“When I look at myself, I
don’t see how I can be saved.
But when I look at Christ, I don’t see how I can be lost.”