August 18 Reflections

Reflections for August 18, 2019
There are times I have said in jest, “The stoplight gods are looking kindly on me today, or they are looking unkindly on me today.” Of course, kindly means they are green when I arrive; unkindly is red, especially if it just turned from yellow to red. When I come to work,  I have two stoplights: one on Highway 18, which I understand, and one downtown which I do not understand. It is rare that I can hit both green. Sue seems to have much better odds when she is driving, so the stoplight gods are with her. But the point of the downtown stoplights evades me especially when I leave the church in the evening following a meeting and no one is on the corner but me and I sit there waiting… for what?
Of course, there are no such things as stoplight gods. If there were it would an image of a stoplight always green. And people would pray to it for the lights to be always green. The parting blessing would be may the stoplight god be with you and always will the light be green. It sounds silly.  But that is what people are inclined to do, make idols that help us think we can control life and God. We bow down to them thinking that somehow God can be manipulated, controlled or reduced to being only in certain places, such as stoplights. We believe that somehow this idol will bring us closer to god, or this idol really is god and when it speaks or acts it is just like God speaking or acting. For many years I thought if I believed the right “theology” I would be able to control God. God must act this way because the theology says so. I got a handle on God.  The Holy Spirit helped me to see after making myself and probably a lot of people miserable that God is bigger than any theology. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
We make idols when we think an object, a person, a group of people or an ideology is “god.” It speaks for God. In our country we make idols out of donkeys and elephants. Political parties become idols. It doesn’t make a difference which; each party has come to believe they speak for God. If you are a true believer you will be a democrat or a republican, depending on which idol you worship. But God is unfathomably bigger than any politician or political party. We need a healthy dose of Isaiah 40, “He (God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. God stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.” (Isaiah 40:23, 23) We worship the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world not an elephant or donkey. We are going to think about this on Sunday. Some passages to read for reflection: Exodus 20:1-6; Deuteronomy 4:15-20; Isaiah 40:18-31;  John 4:19-24.
Grace upon Grace,
Pastor Verlyn