Posted by on Mar 3, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Connections

Dear friends…on this 3rd Sunday of Lent, we have some very interesting Bible verses to read and consider. The gospel for this Sunday is from John 2:13-22, where we see Jesus exercising his authority and concern over the misuse of the temple by turning over the tables where merchants were selling things, such as doves, lambs, etc., and taking advantage of the less fortunate people.

In the epistle lesson in I Corinthians 1:18-25, we find Paul talking with the Corinthians about wisdom and power of God and especially of the cross and in Christ’s crucifixion. He is also
discussing the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles (mainly the Greeks) in their view of society and the cross.

The Old Testament lesson from Exodus 20:1-17 spoke loudly to me this week as a way for us to view people and our actions. This section from the Old Testament is a familiar one to us as it is the story about God giving the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel who had been led from Israel to Egypt to escape the persecution and death they faced as followers of God.

In these verses, the people have arrived in the area of Mount Sinai. They are now able to settle in this area and Moses has the opportunity to visit with God what they would and would not be able to do….to prepare them for what their work would be.

We have normally discussed these verses in the context of positive and negative actions toward other people. We have, in essence, built lines between us and other people…boundaries. In other words, we have looked at these verses in the negative context. Yes…these are rules for us to follow as they were for the Israelites. But, was the context only to be negative?

Along with another writer, I saw that these commandments could be looked at in another context. How about if we look at these as definitions for living a greater life than we could imagine? How about if we look at these definitions and suggestions of the kind of people we choose to be?

Last week, while a friend and I were visiting on the phone, she mentioned a book she had just heard about called, “The Imaginary String”. Her comments on this book interested me enough to investigate and I ordered the book.

This book was originally written as a children’s book about two children who were scared on a stormy night and ran to their mother as they were afraid they were alone. The mother told them that she was always with them. They questioned that comment. But she told them she was always with them…connected by an “invisible string” that is love.

The book went on to describe all of the instances that the children were connected to other people, their friends, friends of friends and family who had gone to heaven. They were always connected by the invisible string of love. The children began to realize that they are connected to their friends, no matter where any of them are…and the connections are always there. They began to realize that everyone is connected in some way.

After thought and prayer, I realized God was telling the Israelites what they can do to show love and acceptance to their friends and neighbors. These commandments were not rules for separation, but suggestions for people to use themselves to show what type of people they choose to be. What if instead of words like “thou shalt not”….we use the words in this reading of “thou shalt”. Like one writer put it, “You are the people who have one God. You are not the people who steal, kill and bear false witness.” And we hear God saying, “My love for you will shape you into these kinds of people and this kind of community.”

What if we consider that we (and all people) are connected to God through the invisible string of his love for us? The only way that string will be broken is if we choose to not be one of God’s children (a Christian) and break away from His love. God always loves us…we have choices.

What if we look at our friends, neighbors, relatives (living and dead) as always with us through the invisible string of love? We, then, are never alone, are we? We are all one family, the family of God and God is asking us to accept all and to treat everyone like our family.

In this passage, God does define some boundaries within the gift of love He has given us. We can look at these verses in this way: Be loyal to God alone. God will bless all of humanity. We will celebrate our Sabbath day as God did and then be sure to take a day to rest. With our friends and neighbors, we will be faithful to all people…not do anything to harm them. We will be faithful in marriage. We will not steal from people who are connected to us in love. We will practice justice to all people and we will be happy for what our friends and neighbors have and will support them.

How many times have you gotten the “urge” to call a friend as you thought something was wrong and they needed you? How many times have you thought about a friend and wondered if things were going well for them…or you just needed to talk with them as you missed them. Have you considered the possibility that Facebook has been a “link” between you and your friends that has helped you navigate your way through this past year? Would you please help remind everyone that because of the invisible string of love between you and all of your family and friends, including their friends, you (and they) are never really alone?

God has connected us from birth with His invisible string of love and forgiveness. We, too, are connected to all people…not only our friends…because of this invisible string. NO ONE IS EVER ALONE!


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