Grace and peace to you and yours from the great folks of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, and I invite you to come to worship with us live and in person or via our website where we offer a live stream of our traditional and our contemporary worship celebrations. Join us at 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM and celebrate the Word of God in Christ Jesus.
It’s Monday morning, my day off according to rumors. On TV, TCM is showing 2001: A Space Odyssey — they’re walking down the ramp to the monolith on the moon right now. I usually write my blog on Mondays, even if I don’t record and upload it until Thursday or Friday. As I struggle for this week’s topic, I find it amusing to think that such an old movie, one made back in the late sixties (about 60 years ago), still packs a punch in what it reveals and contemplates. And why not! Old doesn’t mean the absence of dynamics, value or substance. I’d stack the multiple, thought provoking messages and the methods of presenting them in this old Syfy movie (which was a ground breaker in its day that still challenges today’s high-tech, computer generated new stuff) against most of our modern equivalents. Why am I mentioning the qualities of “old stuff”? For two reasons. (I have a feeling I should have phrased that better, but we’ll see when I let Karen see it.)
Karen, my better half for the last 47 years of marriage (not counting those before) and I just celebrated her birthday last week. I refuse to mention years since I do not yet have a death wish. We’ve shared our years together for what many today would consider a long time. Yet, I would triple it and still find it too few. Sure, the years have left their mark on both of us, but I look at her and still see the woman wearing the yellow, long-sleeved blouse, white jeans, blowing long dark hair and sunglasses sitting in the back of the boat or that athletic young woman exercising in our first home. They are two pictures I have etched into my memory and can view faster than any cell phone or computer can display. I love my wife more today than ever.
The second reason is the Bible/Church stuff that seems to have less and less importance in the lives of many who call themselves Christian. Even the Church and so much of its intellectual leadership wants to modernize our relationship with God. I see God’s Word and the basic tenants of what we believe in the same way as I see my beautiful and much needed and desired wife, Karen. I can’t live without it.
If we love someone or a special relationship, truly love, then that love becomes richer and deeper, more meaningful and precious the longer we live and the older we get. I cannot, will not, think of my life without Karen. Yet, as important as her being with me is to my existence, even it pales next to my desperate need for the love of my Lord. I dare not, could not contemplate life without all He has done, is doing and promising to continue to do in the future.
I still see my relationship with God having the simplicity and purity, the assuring confidence of those Sunday school stories of my past or the trust of my youth knowing “Jesus loves me, this I know.” It may be “old stuff” but it possesses a dynamic presence that has no modern equal.
This past Sunday as we entered into our spiritual campaign recognizing that we are at war with evil in this life, I preached on the reality of Satan and how Job remained true to his faith and love of God. At the services, our Melodic Minions sang the old song “This Little Light of Mine.” The line “Don’t let Satan blow it out” with proper actions and sound effects I might add, reminded me that we need to do the same.
Too many of today’s moderns in the church and in the world want to discard or update the “old stuff” (blow it out) because it doesn’t fit their image. I submit: Maybe the problem is with their image and not the “old stuff” they seek to ignore or snuff out. Sure, Karen adds color to her hair every once in a while and I’m trying to lose some weight and eat a little better, but we’re not trying to change who we are. It’s okay to put a new polish to God’s Word so it communicates to more people the message of His love, but not at the cost of His Words of promise, integrity and absolute truth being altered.
I want a God who is beyond my ability to control (like my Karen); who challenges me to be better than I am (like my Karen); and who loves me despite me (Karen again). An awesome God like that doesn’t need changing or improving, just more loving and trusting.
And those are my thoughts.
God bless and have a great week. God is watching.
Pastor Lee R. Harder