From the Pastor
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a
teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do
apart from the presence of God.” John 3:1-2
Chances are you’ve heard of the game "Telephone.” In case you are
unfamiliar, it works like this: You have a group of people either standing
in a circle or sitting in a straight line.
The person on one end whispers a phrase into the next person’s ear
and it gets passed down the line. The phrase can only be said once so the
person must listen carefully. One shot is all each person has. Normally the
end result is the person at the other end doesn’t end up with the phrase
that the first person shared. Somewhere along the way words get jumbled,
assumptions are made and we end up with an inaccurate story. It’s no one’s
fault really, but rather the work of the whole group. Sometimes a person (or
more) in the group who thinks it is funny to mix up the phrase on purpose.
The truth is, while it may be funny in the moment, it isn’t helpful in the
long run. It can be difficult to sometimes agree with those around us. You
might even call it impossible. Remember, however, that all things are truly
possible when God is involved. Give your problems, your worries, your joys,
your sorrows, your celebrations—give them all to God and give thanks that
you have been claimed as a child of God and you are invited to the banquet
table where all are welcome as a guest of honor.
I’ve experienced this kind of communication in the past, in various places,
but maybe I have been a bit naïve as I have also found it to be quite common
in the church. In our
brokenness, when we have an issue, rather than addressing the person
responsible, we engage in this game of telephone in hopes that our request
is met. Why is that?
Are we so afraid of approaching someone directly that we look for any
way to get out of it? How many times have we seen or heard someone having an
issue with another and it is internalized and the separation grows.
When it finally arrives to the intended person, it is hardly
recognizable from the original issue.
What I’ve found when I hear things two and three times removed from
the actual request, I have more questions than the person sharing the
information with me has answers. Do you see the problem here? I’ve got
questions that need answers and so now I’ve got to go to the person who had
the question/concern in the first place to get the answers I need. Even if I
don’t have any questions, I still have to explain my answer to this person
and then they have to go back to the original person who may or may not like
the answer I’ve given. WHEW!!! Is it only me or does that sound exhausting?
I am exhausted just trying to write this out.
Wouldn’t it be much simpler to ask the person directly the question you
have? Then there is no need to go back and forth between people.
You will probably have your answer more quickly! How might you work
to be in unity with others, especially those you might not agree with or
those who have upset you? Often
it is easiest to simply dismiss them and walk away. It takes much more
effort to find a solution or a common ground. After all, aren’t we called to
be in community together, even when it’s difficult?
Nicodemus wanted to talk to Jesus, to help "straighten him out” from what he
thought was sketchy teaching. Nicodemus also didn’t want to approach Jesus
when others could see him so he went at night. What Nicodemus learned was
that he didn’t know everything he thought he did because he also had bad
information. When the two talked together they understood each other better.
Unfortunately, a person that inspired this article will most likely never
see it. I encourage you to ask people direct questions, with love,
remembering that they are a child of God.
Find out why something is or isn’t being done
This applies not only within the church, but also, in our world. How
much simpler would life be if we talked to one another rather than send our
messages down the telephone line in hopes that the message at the end is the
same as the beginning.
We are all community together. Through the good, the bad, the happy, the
sad, the hurt the joy—no matter what—we are in this together because we have
all been claimed by God as His children. To me, that is as good a reason as
any to work together despite differences we might think we have.
Blessings to you this month of August! Even amidst pandemic woes, I pray the
summer is good to you! Remember
the words of wisdom in our restrooms – "Wash your hands, say your prayers –
Jesus and germs are everywhere!”
Claim Your Baptism! Pr. Paul
p.s. Did you know??
I am so pleased with the hard work
our confirmation youth have been putting in this summer.
We have doubled our class time to 3 hours weekly so that we can catch
up from time missed because of the virus.
Please encourage them in their studies and share in the joy that they
bring to our class time.
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ???
"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the
flowers and clouds and stars.”