A SERMON ENTITLED “STINKING BANDAGES”

Thanks for the comments, both positive and negative to last Fridays post. I am hopeful that as long as we agree that facts matter more than preconceived partisanship and we are able to really listen to one another and respond respectfully real dialogue can still occur.

Today I want to go in a different direction. I am posting a sermon that I preached a few years ago. Reading a sermon is not the same as hearing it. It is a spoken medium after all, But here it is for whatever it’s worth.

 

STINKING BANDAGES

JOHN 11: 17-44

 

  1. BOUND BY DEATH

The local weather reader is a good- looking young guy who should just read the cards and not ad lib. Last week he said, “There were some icy conditions on the roads out there this morning, but there were no serious fatalities.” A matter of life and death would have been a pretty good title for the story of Lazarus.  It works from the standpoint of being alive physically and spiritually.

Death is always a serious matter. Philosopher Ernst Becker said the human race is “bound by death.” He believed that all of human existence is clouded by the reality of our mortality.  “No one gets out of here alive” a poster from the 60’s proclaimed.  Death is the ultimate statistic. It’s one out of every one. But for those of us who know the story, the inevitability of death does not have to bind us up and keep us from living.

Prudy had a lifelong friend named She was terminally ill. But she had no fear of dying. She explained to us that she knew where she was going, because she had been there before.  Years ago, she was clinically dead for a few minutes on the operating table before being revived. She shared the usual story of a bright light and the voices of loved ones already there. But she said, “There are no words to describe the feeling of peace and contentment and joy that I felt.”  Far from being afraid, she was anxious to go back there. Don Piper in his book “90 Minutes in Heaven” expressed the same frustration in not being able to articulate the deep joy of that experience.

I’m guessing that Lazarus had the same problem. Standing there blinking in the sunlight looking at Jesus, I wonder if he wasn’t sure which side of eternity he was on.  I wonder if the thought ever crossed his mind, “Did Jesus do me a favor or not?”

 

STENCH

In Israel they will show you the place where everything biblical happened. Most of the sites are not authentic. But they serve as a good visual for what the original might have looked like. The tomb of Lazarus in Bethany goes straight down about 20 feet. It has a winding stone stairway. The further down they go the less light there is. There is perhaps morbid comedy  I thought about old Lazarus all wrapped head to toe in those burial strips, trying to make his way up that stairway.  Jesus is shouting “Lazarus COME OUT!  And he is thinking, “I’m coming I’m coming. I’ve been dead for 4 days you know. And I’m trying to navigate these stairs with my feet and legs tied up. Hold on to your Halo.”

And then Lazarus got a whiff of himself. (sniff) Is that me? The body decomposing for 4 days without any embalming is not minty fresh.  Death stinks in every way possible.  There is putrefaction that happens in a rotting body that causes an incredible stench.  The bandages that bound him up were filled with the stench of death and decay.  But it is not just physical death that causes that bad odor. It is the little deaths that occur along the way. Our souls begin to rot when we allow ourselves to me bound by a living death that will not allow us to climb the stairs to a renewal of life in the light of the presence of Christ.

Jesus had intentionally delayed his trip to Bethany in spite of his love for Lazarus. The Jews believed that the soul sort of hung around for 3 days and then took off for the after life. Jesus was there to blur the lines between life and death. Jesus had a lesson to teach about the connectedness of the body and the soul. The lesson was that we are given new life now; not just when the undertaker gets us, but here and now. We can strip off the stinking bandages that bind us up in a living death right now.

 

PERMEABLE LINE

This is a key passage in the gospel of John. It is a turning point in which the Pharisees are now bound and determined to kill Jesus. The double entendre on the word bound, is intentional. In this act, Jesus leaves no doubt about who he is and what his life means.  I am the resurrection and the life.  And he means that he is the glory of God present with humanity.  The everlasting life that Jesus gives is basically the same on both sides of the grave. The verb that is used by John for Jesus shouting is It is used only 5 times in John.  Four of those times, it is used by the crowd before Pilate. They shouted, “Crucify Him!”  This was a pivotal moment in his ministry. Jesus shouts life to humanity. Death, you have been beaten. And the crowd shouts death to Jesus.  But he sees his death as glorification; the chance for all human beings to be free from the stench of death’s final victory.  Because we are also shown a foreshadowing of another empty tomb still to come in the story.

But the question that comes to the modern mind is more basic perhaps. “Could this have really happened?” Because we know! We know about what happens if the heart stops beating and the brain is not receiving oxygen. We know that after four days of decomposition there can be no revival.  We know. That’s why Jesus waits. He wants us to understand how much we don’t know. The line between life and death, the line between the natural and the supernatural, these are permeable lines.  Was there symbolic truth in the raising of Lazarus?  Yes of course.  Does that mean that the Spirit of God can’t do the impossible? Does that mean that this never happened?  What do you think?  Life eternal; that is our proclamation, not just at the funeral home but in every aspect of life; whether this one or the next one.

But I think the most significant lesson for us as a faith community is what Jesus says when Lazarus finally makes it up to the opening and steps out into the light. Jesus says, “Unbind him and let him go.” I think that is the call to the faith community, the church that has to be a part of our mission. It’s not that we don’t care about each other, but we tend to keep things on a superficial level. How are you?  I’m fine, how are you? I’m fine. We say that even when we are not fine; even when we are bound so tightly in the stinking bandages of pain and heartache that we can hardly take one more step.  Why can’t we get real with our church family?  “I’m dying here. I need your help.” And Jesus calls every one of us to be in the business of unbinding each other and freeing each other to really live.

 

FREED BY GLORY

What happened to Lazarus tells us that Jesus has ended the separation between God and humanity once and for all. That means that in this life and the next, we will never have to be separated from the glory of God again. We don’t need to wear the stinking bandages of death around ever again. Did anyone ever say to you, “You don’t look so good?”  It is usually meant as an expression of concern for your well being. Once a deacon named Pat and I were visiting Erma in a nursing home. Erma told us that she was going to the beauty parlor in a few minutes.  Pat said, “Oh Erma, you look so lovely, you don’t look like you need to go to the beauty parlor.” And I joked, “Pat never says that to me. Maybe I should take your beauty appointment.” And Erma looked up at me form her wheelchair and said, “Well, maybe you should.”  The church needs to take off the bandages of death and look like we are alive.

My dad died some ten years ago. He left a special gift to me. A series of cassette tapes of his voice telling his life story. I play them once a year. In one portion he says, “Rick, I want to talk to you now as if I was in the room with you.” And he is!  That line between life and death and life seems so fuzzy and permeable.  It doesn’t mean that we have to pretend that death does not hurt, and that grief is not real. Some of you are dealing with grief that is fresh and still very painful.  There is no magic to make that pain go away. But we need to learn to let the community of faith help to unbind us.

There are two words in Swahili for the dead. Zimani and Sasha. Zimani are the remembered ones. As long as they are remembered, they live on among us. My dad is Zimani. Once the last person who knew the deceased passes on, that person becomes a Sasha and moves on to eternity in another realm where eventually all are reunited in a circle of love

When I was in Sunday school and we had to recite a Bible verse from memory I would always choose John 11: 35. It is the shortest verse in the Bible. KJV says, “Jesus wept.” When Jesus was confronted with death, he cried tears of pain like all of us have done. The people around him said “See how he loved him.” Well, see how Jesus loves you. See how Jesus weeps at your pain. See how Jesus offers the hope of new life starting right now. See how Jesus calls the community to help unbind each other and set each other free; to be to one another Jesus with skin; to help us overcome our fear of death or the uncertainty of God’s power to overcome death, maybe it is time to take off those stinking bandages. Well, maybe you should.

Amen

A DANGEROUS SUBJECT

I feel the need to share my thoughts about the current political environment in the country that I love.

This is as dangerous thing to do. And that is my greatest concern. We have lost the ability to disagree without becoming enemies.

I want to be honest in my assessment. But I have friends who will disagree with me. I don’t want to lost them as friends. I want us to learn how to listen to each other respectfully and not consider a difference of opinion as the death knell of our friendship.

I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. I voted against him in spite of the fact that I had some serious doubts about Hillary. To me, character and integrity are important considerations when it comes to the person who will lead our nation. I agreed with the impeachment of Bill Clinton for that reason.

From my way of looking at things, Donald Trump is a person of poor character. He is a womanizer, a liar, a mean-spirited, immature bully. He makes fun of a handicapped man. He demeans anyone who criticizes him. He distorts the facts. His ego does not even allow him to listen to experts and generals concerning policies and crucial decisions. He breaks the law with no remorse and demonizes those who want to hold him accountable. He foments anger and division with his immature name calling. He sides with dictators while alienating  allies. He is a danger to the well-being of our country. He caters to the Evangelical community while demonstrating very few Christian qualities. (Something that still baffles and concerns me.) His policies have helped big business and the wealthy at the cost of polluting our planet at an increased and alarming rate while denying the warnings of solid science.

Now some will say that I should look at the economy. It is great if you are the kind of person who has a stock portfolio. Unemployment is down. Part of that is the great number of people working at two or even three minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet.

I have friends who will read this and disagree strongly.  That should be OK. But is it still OK? Do we have to be enemies who cannot listen to one another just because we disagree?

My greatest concern is not Donald Trump. It is not the impeachment trial. It is not even the election this November. My greatest concern is about what happens AFTER Donald Trump. How will be ever feel like one nation again? Our country has not been this divided since the Civil War. That division was sectional. This one is ideological. We had to fight a bloody war to resolve the war between the states. What will it take to resolve this divide?

I think there are several things we can do to promote healing.

We can resolve to not hate. My faith forbids me from hating anyone.

We can re-learn the art of listening to those who disagree with us thoughtfully and respectfully. We can engage people with whom we disagree to really try to understand where they are in their thinking.

We can move away from putting party above country, This goes for members of both political parties.

We can move away from the radical elements of both parties, I think it is crucial to elect a president who is moderate with a willingness to compromise and reach across the aisle. As Isaiah says, “Come, let us reason together.” Compromise is not a bad word. Nobody gets everything they want. But the country gets what it needs.

If you are a friend, it is my sincere hope that you will not stop being my friend because we disagree. I hope that you will express your take on these matters. I promise to listen thoughtfully and respectfully. It is my hope that as a nation we will work to overcome our differences and perhaps in doing that, we will do no less than save our great country.

UPDATE ON RICK’S LIFE

It has been and happy and eventful year in my life. Prudy and I were able to make two wonderful trips. One adventure was to Costa Rica  for an eco-tour. The other was to Alaska which was a combination cruise and land tour. Both were great experiences with lots of good pictures taken.

In July, we welcomed our 11th grandchild. James Dillon Bonner was born to daughter Hope. He is a very happy baby. The only problem is, people say he looks like me. I hope he will grow out of that. There is a resemblance. He has thin hair, chubby cheeks and gas!

We spent the summer at the pool. It is such a joy to see the grand kids enjoying it. Back in Western PA we have re-connected with long time friends. Our friend Doug took the grandsons out on his boat for some tubing and a lot of laughter.

In May our son Dalitso was in a terrible car accident. He was badly injured by a driver with no insurance who has since disappeared. Dee crushed his pelvic bone which had to be rebuilt. It took 5 months with us to recover. He is now driving and working and living on his own. Lots of prayers were said for him. They were much appreciated.

I have continued to write. My latest book is entitled “And See All the People” It’s about a fictional church and a fictional pastor. It incorporates many experiences in my ministry. It’s available from Amazon Books. If you read it, let me know what you think.

For most of the last two years I have served as the Interim Pastor at the Elderton Presbyterian Church. I had served as pastor there for about 10 years in the 1990 s. When we moved back to Western PA I offered to serve as an interim as they searched for a full time pastor. It was a wonderful experience for me. I love these people and felt honored to have a chance to help them through this transition time.

On my last Sunday there they blessed me with the title of Pastor Emeritus. No words can express how much that means to me.  It is truly an honor although I still have to take out the garbage at home.

So now we are back in Florida for three months escaping the cold and snow. We fill out days with golfing badly, watching movies, visiting friends and going to the beach. I am currently working on What Do You Know Preacher Two.  I am grateful to God for my many blessings.

On Friday,(I am going to blog on Wednesdays and Fridays) I am going to share some thoughts about the world of 2020. I might even throw in a joke. Stay tuned.

He’s back!

Hey. I quit blogging almost a year ago. I am back and ready to share some thoughts and sermons and a little shameless promotion of my new book.

My plan is to blog on Fridays and  Wednesdays. I welcome any input from you as long as it isn’t nasty.

I thought I might start with a little sample from my new book entitled “And See All the People”. It’s available on Amazon Books. It’s 3.99 for the Kindle version and 7.99 for the print version.

This book is about a fictional church and the relationships the people have with a fictional pastor. It is drawn from 40 years of observations and experiences in pastoral ministry.

SANDRA AND BOBBY

Sandra was born in Scotland. She had come to the U.S. when her husband left her and her son, Bobby. Bobby had multiple handicaps and his dad could not handle his broken toy. Sandra stayed with a cousin at first. She was well educated and had no trouble finding a good job. Bobby was enrolled in a school for children like himself. She said it was a school for people who were specially gifted, like Bobby.

”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

She came to trust Pastor Tim enough to talk to him about her feelings. He told her that she should never feel shame about Bobby. He told her how much he admired her devotion to Bobby. He told her that once during the service he had looked at them and Bobby was holding his hand near her face as he often did. Usually she would patiently put his hand down. But this once, she had kissed each of his fingers before putting his hand down,  “That was the holiest moment of grace in the whole service,” Tim said.

Maybe on Wednesday I will catch everybody up on what has been happening in my life in this last year.

MONDAY DEVOTIONS FIVE

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5: 4

My father died 15 years ago today. For me, every March 4th is a time of reflection on the nature of grief.

The Beatitudes or blessings found in the sermon on the mount, say that those who mourn will be comforted. That promise is easier for some to accept than others. I have dear friends who are people of strong faith. They had to bury a child. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to be comforted in that kind of grief.

My dad was a wonderful man. He worked hard all of his life to take care of his family. He was a devoted husband and father. He was also a devoted Christian.  In  his later years, he became my best friend. Even this many years later, I still miss him. I wish I could confer with him in those times when I need his advice. I wish I had more chances to tell him how much I loved him and appreciated him.

So now, every once in a while, and on March 4 in particular, I talk to him. I share what is going on in my life. I try to discern what his advice would be. I try to remember what a great man he was. As Dan Fogelberg sang, “My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.”

And in those talks, I DO find comfort.  I am comforted of my memories of the time we had together in this life. And I am comforted in the  wonder  of the faith that he lived and taught me that there will be no limit to the time we will spend together on the other side.

So if you still grieve the loss of someone, let the words of Jesus give you hope. You will never “get over it.” And you will never be the same. But you can find comfort in the promise that God understands your grief. A little boy was at the neighbor’s house visiting a man who had just lost his wife of 60 years. The boy’s mother said, “You shouldn’t be bothered Mr. Smith. What were you doing over there anyway?” The boy said, “I was just helping him cry.”  Sometimes I think that God weeps with us in the sorrow of our loss. But God also reminds us that he is waiting on sorrow’s other side for a reunion of love.

I’ll see you later Dad.

MONDAY MORNING DEVOTIONAL FOUR

For the most part, performing a marriage ceremony is a part of ministry that is enjoyable.  It is full of hope and promise. Though sometimes it is difficult to remind the couple that this is a worship service. Some want it to be just about Hollywood’s shallow sense of romance.

There are two Old Testament passages that I have used in the wedding service. One is from the Book of Ruth. It is not set in a marriage promise. Ruth is the daughter in law of Naomi.  They have both lost their husbands while living in Moab. Naomi wants to return to her home country of Israel. Ruth wants to go with her. Naomi tells her to stay in Moab and look for another husband. But Ruth insists on going to Israel with her. In verses 16 and 17 of chapter one, Ruth says that she will go with Naomi. She tells her “Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. I will live and die with you no matter what.”

Even though that is not a husband and wife relationship, brides and grooms can learn a lot about the kind of commitment they are being asked to make to one another. Most couples make that promise with sincerity and resolve. But they have no idea how difficult it will be to keep that commitment. It’s easy for them to say “as long as we both shall live.” But it is more difficult than they can imagine.

It is hard for human beings to make that kind of commitment to another person. Neither person knows what the future will bring or the changes that will take place or the challenges that will confront them.

In part, that is why they make those promises in church. I know that destination weddings and beach weddings are popular. I do them if I have to. But I think the church is the best place to make those promises. (All right I am old fashioned.)

The other passage I like to use is from the very strange book of Ecclesiastes. In the 4th chapter the writer says that two are better than one when facing the sometimes difficult realities of life. Two can defend and protect and help each other and keep each other warm emotionally. Then at the very end he says that a THREE-fold cord is hard to break. All the time he was talking about two and then there is a third cord binding them together.

I don’t know if the third cord was meant as a reference to God or not. But I see it as a perfect illustration of what is happening when marriage vows are exchanged. God it the one who can make it possible to keep the nearly humanly impossible promises made on that day.

I saw a poster once that said, “Loved wedding.Now invite me to the marriage. God” Brides and grooms need to move over and make room for the third cord.

MONDAY DEVOTIONAL THREE

Is emotion a part of our faith experience? Should feelings be a part of our worship experience? The Presbyterians are not used to feeling much in worship. We have a reputation for being pretty cerebral in our approach.

There is a story about a woman who was visiting during a Presbyterian service. She was moved by something in the sermon and she shouted, “AMEN!” An usher came down the aisle and told her to be quiet. She explained that she felt the Spirit move. He said, “This is no place for that. This is church.”

Other denominations are not as restricted in their outward expressions of emotion. I have worshipped in churches where it was very emotional, but contained little substance to carry away from the worship experience. We used to talk about ardor and order. I wonder if it is possible to truly mix the two.

The earliest Christian writings contain a lot of emotion. Acts 20 is only one example of tears within the community of faith.  And in Philippians 4:4,Paul gives us this amazing command: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice.”

Wait. What?  Church people are supposed to be happy? Even the frozen chosen? Paul tells us to be happy, not just when they sing my favorite hymn or when the sermon is short or when the budget balances. He says, “always!”

That’s a pretty tough concept. We all have highs and lows emotionally.  I remember reading this when I was I was mired in a depression. I could not rejoice. Feeling joy was the asking the impossible. And lots of church folks find it impossible to feel joy in church, ever.  A man was walking the streets on a Sunday morning looking for beer bottles he could redeem for the deposit. He came upon a very stern looking woman sweeping her front stoop. He said, “Hey lady, got any empty beer bottles?” She gave him a sereve look and said, “Do I look like the kind of woman who would have empty beer bottles?” And the man said, “OK, do you have any empty vinegar bottles?

I’m afraid that is the impression some churches leave with the world outside. One cynical friend said to me, “Church people are joyless.” I don’t think he is right. But I understand where one could get that impression.

Church people are like any other people. Sometimes we are feeling great and joy is visible.  Other times the roof leaks and the rent is due and we are sad or worried or angry. Church should be a place where we learn to trust one another to the point where we can share any emotion. It is closer to the amazingly versatile Hebrew word, SHALOM. It means hello and goodbye and peace. But the essence of the word is wholeness; all is well. That is the kind of joy that Paul wishes for all believers because that is what Christ gives us. It is that which transcends the ups and downs of life. It sustains us, always.

So, Shalom

MONDAY DEVOTIONAL TWO

 

There is an old story about a man who went to his Rabbi for counsel. “My son is out of control. He disrespects me and does things that are against the laws of God and man. What should I do?” The Rabbi thought for a moment and then  said, “Love him more than ever.”

There are some truly strange stories in the Bible. Some of them grow out of cultural traditions for which we have no point of reference. But there is timeless truth in all of them.

One  such story is found in Genesis 15.  God has made significant promises to Abram. (He would be called Abraham until a little later.) God promised him that he would have offspring that would outnumber the stars. God also promised that he would have a land of his own.

Now at the time, Abram and his wife Sari were already on Social Security and he had no heir. He was also a nomad with no place to call his own. So naturally Abram needed some reassurance that God could keep these promises. So this was God’s command. He was to cut three animals in half and place the halves. So that is what Abram did.

He was to place the halves on either side of a path.  Then when the sun went down a flaming pot and a torch passed between the halved animals. This represented God’s promises to Abram.

OK, so that is the way God chose to illustrate what is called a covenant. But why did it have to be so gory and include so much death? It is because God is saying that if God breaks the promises made to Abram, God would die, like those animals. God was swearing on God’s life that the promises were true.

But the essential truth in this story is not that God keeps promises. It is found in what does NOT happen. Abram’s only job, it seems,. was to chase the buzzards away. Notice that Abram is NEVER asked to walk between the animal parts. God is making a unilateral promise. It is not dependent on Abram keeping his end of the bargain. In fact, it isn’t a bargain or even a contract. It is a holy promise and that’s what makes it a covenant.

If you are anything like me, you are glad that God’s promises are not dependent on our keeping ours. God keeps the promise of loving us forever, in spite of our behavior. All it seems that is required of a believer is to well, believe.

In the New Testament it’s called grace. Jesus loves and reaches out to save sinners. That’s good news for me. Of course God wants us to follow in the ways of a self-sacrificing savior who loves without conditions. But when we don’t, the promise is not withdrawn. Like the father in the story, God just loves us more than ever.

There is nothing you can ever do that will make God stop loving you. And there is nothing you can do to earn the love of our sovereign God. It’s just ours for free. It’s called grace. And it truly is amazing.

WEEKLY BIBLE REFLECTIONS

I have been preaching for 40 years. I thought I might start blogging about some passages of scripture once a week. These are in random order and based on thoughts over the years.

There are some passages that will NOT be included. For instance, the favorite passage of follically impaired men from II Kings 2: 23-24. The prophet Elisha is the subject of ridicule for being bald. He calls down a curse on the children who mock him and she-bears come out of the woods and kill the children. I will not be writing on this uplifting passage since I have no idea what it’s supposed to teach us.

Complete understanding is not required to appreciate some Bible stories. I start with a post-resurrection story from Luke 24: 13-35.  Two followers of Jesus are walking back to their homes in Emmaus. They have been in Jerusalem and witnessed the crucifixion of the one they thought was the Messiah. They were heart broken.

Then another traveler joins them on their journey. They do not realize that it is the risen Christ. He explains scriptures to them and tells them about the meaning of the cross and the empty tomb. They still don’t recognize him until they invite him to stay for dinner. There he blesses and breaks bread and their eyes are opened.

Two wonderful things are in this story. The first is the reality of his resurrection.  The story of salvation could not end with the crucifixion. Jesus the Christ was more powerful than death. I don’t totally understand Easter. But I love it and embrace it just the same. I love the fact that Easter had not been overrun by the holiday machine like Christmas. It is a celebration of the soul and not just the mind.

The second wonderful thing in this story is communion; the Eucharist; the Lord’s Supper; the breaking of the bread. Bible study meant nothing to these seekers until he broke the bread in their presence.  It was in the sacred connection of the sacrament that they were able to see the truth.

I think that is true for us as well.  If we truly believe in the sovereignty of God then we realize that our salvation is not based on our understanding it. Truth is not just a matter of the mind. An elder once told me that he thought that children should not be allowed to take communion until they understood it. I replied that if we did that, I could not take communion either. I love this sacred touch point with God that is beyond human understanding. A baby does not have to understand how the mother produces milk in order to be fed by it.

Once the risen Christ becomes real to us in his broken body and shed blood then we are able to truly see him and we can begin to understand what discipleship is all about.

FAITH AND SCIENCE

 

FAITH AND SCIENCE

One night my next door neighbor was in my driveway obviously looking for something. I asked if I could help. He said,”Sure. That would be great. I lost my keys.” I said, “Did you lose them over here?” He said, “No, I lost them over in my yard.” Confused, I asked him, “Then why are you looking for them over here?” He said, “The light is better over here.”

I have been thinking recently about faith and science. Some Christians are anti-science. Some politicians are too. Well, I am a Christian and I am not anti science. I am also not afraid of what science will find out. There should never be any fear that the truths of God will somehow be disproven by science any more than my neighbor would find his keys where he didn’t drop them.

Science and faith are both pursuing truth. But they are looking for different kinds of truth. Science deals with the physical, observable, measurable universe. The truth of faith goes much deeper than that. When some believers feel threatened by things like evolution and the origins of the universe they should stop and remember that God’s truth cannot be threatened by anything that science might uncover. But then there is a lot about God that I don’t understand.

Some in science would say that it is irrational to believe in some spiritual prime mover in creation. But is it any less irrational to observe the intricate order of the universe and the human body and believe that it all just happened randomly? When there is order, does it not make sense that something or someone guided the process? I gave a children’s sermon where I put the parts of a watch in a bag. There were gears and hands and a face and a band. I shook the bag and pulled out a whole working wristwatch. The kids called me on it and said it was impossible fora working watch to just appear without someone making it. They were right.

The bottom line is that faith and religion can co-exist. One set of truths does not threaten the other. I think it is crucial for our faith to avoid being anti-science. Rational people will not be attracted to a faith that asks them to check their brain at the door of the church.  

I read the testimony of a science professor who stated, “I have learned enough about the universe to know that science will never find all of the answers that only faith can address. There is mystery in both fields and I, for one, am OK with that. There is truth that is beyond the purview of science.”

I could not agree more.