When I was in high school, living in a home with no air-conditioning, in the early morning hours of summer when I wanted to sleep, the strains of “Ah Sweet Mystery of life at last I’ve found thee. Ah at last I know the secrete of it all” pierced my brain. It came from an aspiring singer a few houses away, who also had no air-conditioning. She would sing it over and over honing what I suppose was a rich, operatic voice. I use that as an introduction to the article for no other reason than it still reverberates in my brain when I think of the mystery of life. So lets take a little journey in life’s mystery.
What if the Pharaoh of Egypt who honored Joseph would have put out an edict which said, “From this day forward and forevermore, the house of Joseph shall be a welcome and protected people in our land. It is and let it be so”. As you know, instead “there arose a Pharaoh in Egypt who did not know Joseph.” We can understand that, being that the Hebrews had been there about 400 years. But what if they had been protected by law? What if there was no need for an exodus?
What if, under this new idea they were protected and multiplied and in time out-numbered the Egyptians? Since they had been in Egypt all those years they had only a legendary attachment to the God of Jacob and Joseph.
According to the little research I’ve done, their religion was a mixture of Abrahamic oral tradition and Egyptian practices during that 400 years. What if the fertile crescent of Egypt looked more “promising” than the land of Canaan? The small detail of an edict of protection (citizenship) could have changed the course of history.
So what? We can’t change history, but history can change us. We can learn from the mistakes and ignorance of the past. As the saying goes, if we don’t we’re bound to repeat them.
For some, the great mystery of life is if life is preordained, or haphazard? It is easy for some to say it is all planned by God to the last detail. Say, for example, the question of how long you are going to live and how you will die? Does God know? What does the “all Knowing”, the omniscience of God mean?. I have no comfort in believing that God knows how and when I’m going to die. Why? Because I don’t know, and I don’t have any information about it , nor do I want to. The only persons I know who know how and when they are going to die are those about to be executed, or terminally ill. Were I such a person I would have little comfort in believing it was the unchanging will of God. So if God knows, it does me no good. The comfort comes from knowing I will have lived with meaning and purpose, and trusting God to be loving.
I’m not talking about people having near death experiences or second chances. I’m talking about believing God planned, and therefore, causes everything to happen in a life.
Our response to the nature of God is to say things like, “God allows.” Really? How do we know that? Because if it happens, and does not fit within our comprehension we have to explain it in some way. Saying something happens without God causing it seems to somehow diminish God.
Does it diminish God to believe in a world (or universe) designed to operate within certain laws, and that humankind exists in relationship with those laws, and suffers when those laws are broken? We see evidence of that every time we look at history and even today.
The intervention of God into life is a mystery, compounded by its “beyond our controlness.” But to live as though God moves with us, rather than preordaining every happening, gives me a relationship where I can be thankful for life and accept the painful things as part of having that life. But it also means eliminating as much of that pain and suffering as I can, and helping others to do so. And in so doing, believing that is the work of God, and not the undoing of God’s will.
Everything is in hindsight. We cannot change history. All we can do is change the present. We build on both the ignorance and wisdom of the past, while believing there is a purpose and power beyond us which inspires us to dream big dreams and overcome great barriers as we reach out to the meaning of being made in the image of God. And that is God’s predetermination. The rest is up to us.
THOSE TO SERVE IN MARCH
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: James Downing
Usher: Mark McRoy
Communion Care: Holly Wagner
3-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
10-Alan Beach Connie Crites
17-Del Bolin Martha Foy
24-Karen Branch Holly Wagner
31-Alan Beach James Downing
3-Abraham Sirgy Susan Jordan
10-Scott Blessing Susan Phlegar
17-Keith Wagner Holly Wagner
24-Mike Branch Connie Crites
31-Wayne Flora Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
3.Vivian Dugan 5-Bonnie Blessing
12-Buster McRoy 13-Bill Albert
29-James Downing 31-Erma Williams
10-Alan & Joni Beach
19-Bill & Martha Albert
CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is going to have back surgery as soon as it can be arranged. Jim Hunter will have to have more of his foot removed due to diabetes. Mark Floyd, a friend of Judy McWhorter’s fell from a horse and had to have brain surgery. The Reiss’ son, David is still being treated for brain cancer. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole will have brain tests at UA Birmingham. Ray Barns had an adverse reaction to chemo and they are seeking alternative treatments. Keep his wife, Darnell in prayer as well. Remember also Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin Linda Alsup and husband, Prentice who has cancer. Others dealing with cancer are Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Judy Powell and Harold Clark (Jo Wagner’s sister and a cousin) The parents of Wayne Flora, The Beach’s fathers and Del Bolin’s mother. Donte McCadden (cf) Wayne Phlegar, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Jim and Mary Smith Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and Tim Elder.
As Keith moves closer to retirement, the bulletin will be published monthly, rather than bi-monthly. The weekly handout will contain news and notifications. Other needed information between bulletins will go out via email.
From Megan & James Downing: “A big, heartfelt thank-you to everyone who attended the baby shower yesterday. (2/23) We are so excited to start this new adventure, and cannot wait for Luke to meet our wonderful church family. Your love, support, and prayers have meant so much to us and we are extremely grateful. All our love, Megan and James Downing
On Super Sunday 3/17 Jonathan Dansby will be speaking. He will teach the adult class as well. Jonathan is a prospect to replace Keith. He will graduate from Duke this may.
Keith’s retirement will be somewhat gradual. The first changes will take place in April when he only preaches twice a month. This will decrease in time as the search for a new minister proceeds. When the new minister comes, he will do the office duties he ha s done since Wilma Cullum retied tow days a week. How long this will continue depends on several factors.
Jim Hunter is waiting for a hospital room. Martha can’t be with Bill at the lake and Jim here in town. Jim has a god support group, but there are times when a little extra would help. He is confined to the upstairs while at the Skylark house. He can use rides to the doctor, as well as daily needs. His phone # is 540-797-8030. Call and if you go to the house he will tell you how to get in.
Vivian Dugan will be will her other daughter until May 1.