Thursday, March 29, 2012

Clues to The Way, The Truth and The Life!

One way to solve a mystery is with a scavenger hunt. I’m not talking about the one where you can’t find your glasses or your credit card! Not THAT scavenger hunt! My daughter and her husband made a scavenger hunt to surprise their 5 and 7 year olds with a trip. The kids found clues when their parents posed questions like, “Where do we make a hot part of dinner?” In the oven they found a picture of the Willis Tower. Yeah, I know. When I grew up there, it was the Sears Tower. Then they’d bring the envelope back to their parents and tell what they saw. One picture was the Chicago skyline. Another question, “Where do we take our clothes when they need to get clean?” Down the basement they dashed to the washing machine to find a picture of the Shedd Aquarium. And so it went until the kids said, “All of these things are in Chicago. Are we going to CHICAGO?” When the excitement quieted down, there was one clue left. In the last envelope was a picture of a train! “Are we taking the TRAIN to Chicago?” Yes! Shock and awe! The clues to a wonderful trip were built on their special interests, seek and find and fascination to the 9 ’s with trains. They would adventure to a place about which they read and want to know more. All of this with mom and dad, people they trust with their tomorrows.

How often do we say, “I don’t have a CLUE!” about life? We search for clues all the time. For example, last week a “Reason Rally” drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C. looking for clues on how to promote secularism to highlight the political power of nonbelievers. Their first attempt to “unify, energize and embolden secular people nationwide” was 10 years ago with “The Godless March on Washington,” with an estimated 2,000 participants. Last week those numbers reportedly increased to 10,000. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, told the crowd, “We are here to deliver a message to America. We are here and we will never be silent again.” This purportedly largest-ever gathering of non-believers in one place, stood in the rain as speakers, singers and comedians charged them with channeling their common rejection of God into a force for political change.

The flip side of the rejection-of-God group would be those of us who believe in the Triune God, the Great 3 in 1, Who sent His only Son to die for our sins and rise again. How do we know? God provides clues to lead people to His plan for life here and hereafter. Hundreds of clues in the Old Testament gave people hope for thousands of years before they turned out to be more than clues. They were prophecies that came true. Such as where He would be born, of what lineage, where and how He would die for our sins and rise again.

Unlike the kid’s scavenger hunt, God’s clues are life saving. Instead of asking, “Where do we take things that need to be cleaned?” we need to know, “Where do I go when my heart, mind and soul need to be cleansed?” The answer is not in an envelope, it’s in the Bible, in Baptism and through Holy Communion. The Cross is the price Jesus paid for us to be cleansed. What a cleaning bill!

In John 16, Jesus assures His disciples the world will hate them like it hated Him and His Father’s work through Him. He’s about to face His torture, death and resurrection. They don’t get it. How could they? People don’t rise from the dead. Jesus speaks to their limitations, knowing in a few days His Words will start to make sense, allay their fears and prove He is God in the flesh. Then He adds, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.”

He gives them a huge CLUE. They couldn’t bear knowing any more, so He doesn’t burden them any further. He promises they’ll understand more about the Truth as the Holy Spirit guides them, once He returns to heaven.

The children I told about at the beginning found clues from parents they trusted about going to Chicago, a place they'd read about and wanted to see. Christians find more than clues. From God's Word, which we trust, we read about and find promises that through faith in Christ, we are forgiven and go to heaven when we die. We could make a case for the success of Christianity by noting that since Jesus’ death and resurrection over 2,000 years ago, 3 billion, 200 million people worldwide believe. But that’s not entirely the point. The point is, what about you? Who do YOU say that He is? The kids discovered they were going to Chicago, but they still had to wait a whole week for the trip! It was “now...not yet!” That’s part of the Christian walk, too. This Lenten season we’re aware of staking our lives, through faith in Christ, on getting “there,” to heaven for eternity, and waiting now. Will we wait well? We will when we take seriously the clues from God’s Word in living our daily lives.

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