A Message from Pastor Craig: 7-31-2022

Have you heard the term “end of the roaders?” The term speaks, I think, to people who decide to get away and keep going down the road until it ends. In places like Alaska or Key West, and I suppose other hinterland places, the people who have chosen to wander, end up.

I’m not an “end of the roader” but do enjoy seeing the end of the road.  Whether it be a path in the woods, or a dead end in a little town, or some more famous ends of roads, I want to see why it ends, where it ends, how one gets there.  While on the subject, it seems like where the road starts and where it ends may be a matter of opinion, or perspective, or point in time.  There’s a spiritual application to that, I’m sure, and I can’t wait to see what it is.

For instance, Route 66 “starts” in Chicago and ends in LA.  When I decided to drive it, I started my trek in Santa Monica.  My first picture of Route 66 was the end marker.  Likewise, US1, which is a very long road, “ends” in Key West.  But Mile Marker 1 of US1 in the Keys is in downtown Key West.  You may have seen the MM 2 or MM 106 as you have travelled down that way. Is MM 1 the beginning of US1 or the end?

This Summer, Janice and I decided (OK, she acquiesced to my request) to check out the end of I-95 in Holton, Maine, and the end of US1 farther north from there, in Port Kent, Maine.  Now, I understand why I-95 ends in Miami.  But on the other hand I don’t understand why it goes to Holton.  At the very end of I-95 (or is it the beginning?) is a border crossing into the middle of absolutely nowhere Canada.  I can say I’ve been there, but the point was lost on me.

Then, we got back on US1 (someday I am going to be able to say I have driven every mile of US1!) and travelled up to Fort Kent.  Fort Kent is a lovely little town.  And across the border crossing lies the charming little town of Claire.  Divided by the St. John River, it’s a lovely spot, and a place where historically the two sides have mingled.  The evidence is in the French legacy of that part of Maine.  Travelling to the end of US1 is worthwhile—I-95 not so much.

I started life in Arcadia, California.  A couple of years ago I went back to the place where my road started.  The hospital is still there where I was born though it doesn’t look like the black and white photos my Dad took when I was brought out of it.  It was good to be back there, and I pray a thanksgiving prayer for how good God has been to me along the way.

I don’t know where I will end up eventually.  My suspicion is that I have already visited there.  I just don’t know for sure.  Well, I do visit my Dad’s grave in St. Petersburg, FL occasionally and my plot is not too far away.  I have visited that spot many times because of my ancestors being buried there.  I too will “rest with my fathers” (as 1 Kings 2 talks about) there in St. Pete.

So the ends matter.  I have photos and stories to tell of the ends, both in life and on the road.  But you know what?  What makes a journey great is the stuff in between.  I have a lot more photos of coastal Maine and of the rest of the Keys than I do on just the ends of US1.  A lot more time is spent in between the alpha and the omega.  There is a TON more to see and do along Route 66 than at its
extremes.  I have photos to prove it. 

It’s good to see the ends, but I don’t want to stay there.  I am not an “end of the roader.”  And I hope you aren’t either.  There is much that God has in store for us as we go along in this life.  Make sure you take some photos, make some memories, and continuously, I mean continuously, give thanks.

Enjoying the journey,

Craig

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ~ Colossians 4:2

A Message from Pastor Craig: 7-24-2022

She kept telling us it was the experience of a lifetime, that we would never see anything like this again.  In her euphoria the tour guide told us to never come back, that we would never see it this good.  She squealed in delight: “They’re at 12 o’clock!  Three o’clock!  Six o’clock!  Oh my, they’re everywhere!  This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen!”

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about this young lady’s attitude. We were having a good time.  But was our trip THAT good, THAT different from other times?  Was she exaggerating, was she this effervescent every time?  Let me tell you what was going on.

We were in Boston for a wedding and decided to go on a whale watching tour out of Boston Harbor with our younger son.  On our way out, we placed bets, predictions really – there was no money involved, on how many whales we would see.  Wanting to set the bar low, Janice said one.  I felt even if we saw 10, saying 2 would better Janice’s prediction.  So Drew said 3.

By the end of our tour, the giddy tour guide reported that we had seen somewhere between 25 and 40 different whales.  Not just 40 sightings, but sightings of different whales.  They give names to some of them, and how they know who’s who in the zoo, I mean in the sea, I’m not sure.  What I do know is that for an hour we saw humpback whales feed like a bunch of tourists at an Amish smorgasbord (I’m thinking Shady Maple in PA.  Been there?). 

The whales eat so much that birds come and feed off of the leftovers.  Birds will ride on the heads of whales for a bit, just waiting for the fish that the whale just couldn’t handle.  And when that’s over, the whales dive down and go for more.  That’s when you see that signature whale tale up in the air.

Truthfully, for all I know, everybody gets to see that spectacle.  It’s the only time I’ve been out.  Probably not though, there’s the caveat presented at the beginning that you might not see ANY whales.  They say that for a reason.  I am so glad, and feel blest, that we saw what we saw.

I’m still stuck on the comment the guide made to not come back.  Would I go back?  I don’t know.  It’s a fun ride out and back in and of itself.  But I would NEVER, as a guide, tell people not to come back.  That would be like me as a pastor telling you not to come back on a particularly blessed Sunday morning service.  Why would I do that?  Because I don’t expect God to bless us ever again in that way?  That I never expect that good music, or that good of a sermon, or whatever?

There is no limit to what God can offer.  Every mountain top experience we have ever had with the Lord can be improved on, because there is no limit to God’s goodness and grace.  So there is always reason to come back!

And… Let us not take for granted the glory and the privilege of being in His house every time we come.  We didn’t get jaded to the appearance of a whale even after being out there over an hour.  Even though they were all over the place.  Every time was an encounter with a majestic being that could overwhelm us if they tried.  Every time was an encounter with a being that lives in a different world than ours.  Every time was special.  Over the Stellwaggen Ledge in the Atlantic, or in church this morning.

Glad you’re here,

Craig.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.         Psalm 63:2,3

A Message from Pastor Craig: 7-17-2022

         Did you see the movie “A Night in the Museum?”  I never thought that I would have an actual “night in the museum,” but last weekend I did.  Now, it wasn’t the whole night, and neither Ben Stiller nor Robin Williams were there, and I didn’t have any conversations with any of the exhibits, but still, it was pretty cool.

         One of our nieces got married and had her wedding at the Science Museum in Boston.  When we walked in, the place was packed with people including little kids everywhere.  We were whisked downstairs and outside, where a small ensemble played music for the arriving guests.  Tour boats hurried by in the background, and following the ceremony and requisite wait for photos, they escorted us back inside.  This time to an empty building.  On the ground floor of a  three story atrium with a huge globe of the Earth hanging over us, we did the typical reception thing.  But then, through word of mouth, we found out that the dessert was up one floor.  Which meant that we could explore the exhibits up there, and the third floor for that matter.

They had no monitors, no docents, no roped off areas, we were free to roam the museum!  What?!  We had the whole museum of science to ourselves?  Yep!  Now, THAT’S a venue for a reception!  Lots to do and see.  From the fundamentals of electricity to the actual skeleton of a dinosaur by the name of Cliff, from an exhibit of Antarctica to the botany of California… there was a little something for everybody.

What caught my attention was an exhibit that spanned one side of the third floor which they had labeled “Seeing is Deceiving.”  It combined examples of impressionistic art with optical illusions, kind of a diversion from the more heady stuff of the hard sciences.  One particular work impressed me.  The artist printed some text, I don’t remember what it was, then shaded some of the text to look like a man’s face.  The thing was, up close you could only tell that some text was darker than others.  About three feet away, you could tell that the text was actually a face.  But from across the museum, all it looked like was a face.  The farther away you got, the clearer the face was.  I just loved it, and that night took several people up to see it.  I think it had impressed me more than it did them.  Oh well.

One of the reasons that I liked it is that I have a similar piece of art.  It’s a lithograph of the Sermon on the Mount, printed on a 2X3 foot piece of paper.  Anna Talbot (the artist) began shading the text ever so slightly, until she had turned the words into the face of Jesus.  I have loved this piece for many years now, although it’s quite an old piece – it will be 100 years old in six years from now.

I never felt that the work was “deceiving.”  I felt it revealed more than it concealed.  The tinting elicited more value, not less.  Some of the displays in the museum did make- say shapes- look bigger or smaller than they were because of their context, but this?  No, there was more to see, whether you first saw it from a distance, or up close.

And in the case of my lithograph on the wall, it reveals Jesus in the text.  That’s illustrative of my homiletical task.  I want us to see and show Jesus whenever we read or write something.  I think the job of the Christian is to try to find Jesus in all that we see – to see the creative power of God in nature, to see the attributes of Jesus in our Christian brothers and sisters, and to learn how to be better people from whatever text we encounter (which might be a cautionary word about what we choose to read).

It was great to spend “a night at the museum.”  We’ve enjoyed our vacation time and are grateful to First Boca for the privilege of taking the time away.  But it’s also great to be back in worship with you all.  It’s good to be home!

Appreciating beauty wherever it is to be found,

Craig.

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29

A Message from Pastor Craig: 6-26-2022

This is not a series on space, but after last week’s article on watching the full moon rise, I had various comments about space. One in particular caught my attention (thanks Rosie!).  It was pointed out to me that on Thursday (last Thursday as you are reading this) five planets were going to line up, and they would be in the same order that we learned in school. In school we learned the planets in the order of where their orbits are in relation to the sun, and on Thursday, just before dawn, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lined up from left to right with the moon thrown in as a lagniappe.

Like many coincidences in space, these things don’t happen very often—the last time these planets lined up in this order was March 5, 1864.  That was a long time ago!  And there was no Internet to let people know about it like we have today.

So why does this matter?  Well, it doesn’t, except that I find predicting such an occurrence remarkable, and to be able to be notified to see it a treat.  (I’m sorry I’m writing this post-facto!). Jesus told His disciples that he would die and rise on the third day.  And while nobody stood around the tomb to watch the event (except some soldiers who must have really been spooked), the disciples did stick around together in Jerusalem long enough to witness the outcome.  They missed the
privilege of seeing Jesus actually emerge triumphant, but they (and we) still got to experience its benefit.

Now, with the planets lining up, there’s no actual benefit.  Although it does remind me of the statement “all the stars aligned….”  I think that idiom means that a series of circumstances all happened so that some desired outcome happened.   That’s not a Webster Dictionary definition, but sounds about right.  Now, do stars actually align for the events of humans to happen?  No.  Astrology is a capricious reading of the sky interpreted in as many ways as there are astrologers that beg you to order your life accordingly.  It’s not to be confused with astronomy, which is able to predict the wonders we see in the sky.

I don’t think that using the idiom “all the stars lined up” means ascent to astrology necessarily.  But I do think that we need to be mindful that God is full of mercy and grace, and that God blesses us in remarkable ways, and that when things work out for good, it’s not that the “stars all lined up” but that God worked out circumstances in our favor.  And we don’t “thank our lucky stars” (whatever that means) but we give thanks to God when we see those wonderful things happen.

The five planets lining up is a celestial phenomena that happens because of their respective orbits.  The idiom “planets lining up” should actually be the preamble of thanksgiving to God.  He worked things together for our good.  The Apostle Paul went so far as to say that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Now, that doesn’t say that all things work out for good.  It says that God is working in all things to bring good.  There’s a difference.  But Paul seeks to convey to us the idea that the Creator of all those planets and stars actually gets
involved in our lives intending for our good.  That’s remarkable.  Even more than a full moon rising or five planets aligning in order.

Smiling with delight,

Craig

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.  Psalm 147:4

A Message from Pastor Craig: 6-19-2022

Last Tuesday was the full moon for the month. The moon rose at 8:54 pm. Thanks to our Circle of Eight, we stood ready to greet it on the southern end of Deerfield Beach. Do you know the fictional story of the explorer who got caught by cannibals, and reading through his journal, he found that the next night would be a lunar eclipse, so he pretended to be a god, or an angel, and “made the moon
disappear?” I felt somewhat like that. I felt that I had some secret knowledge like that (but it was actually my friend, Pat, that did). We stood, particularly in the last couple of minutes, with eager expectation for the vast ocean to lob some celestial body up into the sky. I know, that sounds less than romantic. It really was a lovely moment, a moment of beauty and delight as the light of the moon, first faint, then quite red, began to light the evening sky.

So, it turns out that you can type in “moonrise times” on your phone, and any number of websites will tell you when this wonderful phenomena will happen. I have an app on my phone that tells you what star you have your phone trained on. It identifies stars, and even man-made objects like the Hubble telescope and the Space Station. And of course, the moon. When I pulled it up, lo and behold, there was the moon, just below the horizon.

You see, I already had the information in my hands. I had as much predictive power over the rising of the moon as Pat did. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know to look. It never crossed my mind. Such a beautiful sight, and such a wonderful experience, had never crossed my mind. Romans 10 asks “How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?” (v. 14). We would not have been out there had we not been invited (and without somebody organizing Circle of Eight!). We would not have enjoyed the moonrise had Pat not invited us. This is the simple work of the evangelist. We think the truth of Jesus is common knowledge – and it is, the Bible is readily available on literally everyone’s phone. But they won’t look, they won’t know what to look up, if we don’t tell them. I was reminded of that last night.

The websites said that the moon would rise at 8:54 pm. And my Skyview app showed the moon right at the horizon. But at 8:55 we still couldn’t see the moon. Now my app showed the moon above the horizon. But we couldn’t see it. What was wrong?! The cannibals were going to eat us! Was the information wrong? How could this be? When you watch a sunset, and the sun disappears above the horizon, it is obscured by clouds hanging low on the horizon. The thing is, in the sunlight you can see the clouds, it is obvious what is happening.  Not so at night.  We couldn’t see the long line of clouds that draped the horizon. So we had to wait, and wait with some (now) uncertain faith that we would see it. The moon had risen, it was above the horizon, the apps had not lied. We just had to wait.

Again, this is how it is with God’s truth. It’s there. It’s happened. What God promises is true. But sometimes we don’t see it immediately. Circumstances, our own doubts, misinformation gets in the way sometimes. Think of the resurrection of Jesus. It happened. But at first nobody saw Him. That doesn’t mean He hadn’t risen. And when Thomas was told about it, he still didn’t believe, for a little while. But Jesus was there, clouds of doubt, clouds of the constraints of time and space kept many from seeing. But it still happened.

And those circumstances still keep many, even ourselves, from believing.  From Romans 10, I learn that many people out there will only come to know Jesus if I tell them about it, if I point them in the right direction. But also in the life of the believer, there are blessings that take a long time to see. Last night I was reminded that they are still there. You just have to wait for the truth to rise above the doubt, I mean, the moon to rise above the clouds.

Back home now,

Craig

Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  I Corinthians 13:12

A Message from Pastor Craig: 6-12-2022

As I sit down to write, I am aware that I am fixing to write about something in the future that will be in the past by the time you read it.  I’m writing on a Tuesday afternoon before our 2022 Annual Conference starts on Thursday.  And you will read this, theoretically, on Sunday the 12th.  So, back to the future.

Every year, save the COVID-19 years, United Methodists gather for an Annual Conference in their respective regions, usually based around state borders.  An Annual Conference is not just an event that happens every year (as the name implies), but it is a thing.  The Annual Conference is also an entity, it’s a 501.c3 corporation.  It has officers, and it has a pastor.  We call that pastor a Bishop, and the members of the organization we call pastors.  For some reason, unexplained to me, the Annual Conference is considered, in our laws, the “basic unit of the church.”  So, I guess, I’m headed to church.

Over the years, it has been worship that I have enjoyed the most there.  The better musicians get to lead worship there, and the people that go love to sing, so it’s a great time that way.  And because we used to get together a lot more, you would make friends that would be in your district, and then move away to another district, it was a great time to gather together.  And it still is.

I have to confess that my interest has waned over the years on the other more lengthy parts of Annual Conference: the committee reports given, the greetings from organizations sponsored by the Annual Conference, and the minutiae of finances and human resources.  Those are great times to visit with people outside.  I’m not proud of this, I present this as confession.

But going, and attending, and being part of it in whatever varying degrees of engagement is still important.  Worshiping and visiting with brothers and sisters matters.  The writer of Hebrews said: Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).  I hope that “Day” is coming, and soon.  But in the meantime, God wants us to make our faith, to make our spirituality, real, tangible, visible.  That happens when we “meet together” or “assemble” together as the King James states it.

We have made it to Summertime.  Many of us are going to travel (including Janice and me—we’re headed for a July wedding in Boston!).  As we travel, let’s not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together” whether we are in Boca or not.  I have already figured out where I’m going to church in Boston.  I’m looking forward to attending the church of my doctoral degree professor.  I look forward to worshiping there, to gathering with brothers and sisters I have not met, to encounter God in that place.  Wherever you are headed this Summer, there is a church worth checking out – God is there.  Just as He is here.

Last week was the first time to worship in person for me in two weeks.  It was great to be with you all again after Covid made me watch on Facebook.  I’m looking forward to this Sunday that you are reading this article.  Truth is, I always enjoy being in my Father’s house.

Worshiping wherever and whenever,

Craig

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”  Psalm 122:1

A Message from Pastor Craig: 6-5-2022

The British pronounce Vincent Van Gogh’s last name “Van “Goff.”  Why?  I’m not sure, but it has something to do with how the English language struggles with anything that ends with an ‘o’ and a ‘g’ and an ‘h.’  We won’t go there.

So, what does this have to do with anything?  Well, last week Janice and I went to the Van Gogh (pronounce it as you will) experience down in Miami.  It’s housed at the Olympia Theater (we remembered it as the Gusman Center), a wonderful old “atmospheric” architecture theater.  It’s the only one in Florida except for the Tampa Theater in, uh, Tampa – a place worth going to just for the organ recital.

I don’t know about the Tampa Theater, but COVID pretty much killed the Gusman Center, so this exhibit is taking full advantage of the otherwise empty place.  You can’t tell where the seating section ends and the stage starts—it’s quite an innovative use of the space.  I don’t know how long the exhibit will stay, and don’t know how long the Olympia will survive, but I’m glad we went.

Van Gogh, not Van Goff, was a preacher’s kid.  He started out going into the ministry like his dad, but eventually dropped out.  He became an evangelistic missionary to the poor, but when he sold everything he had and gave it to the poor (following Mark 10:17ff), they kicked him out for being too “extreme” in his interpretation of Scripture.

Of course, it may have been because that was an early manifestation of his mental illness, I don’t know, but it set him out into the world of art.  Western Civilization has not produced a more recognized artist than Van Gogh.  His pieces sell for 70+ million dollars each now.  We know him today as brilliant and remarkable.  In his lifetime though?  He sold one painting.  One.

I’m not into sunflowers.  And he was.  But his Starry Night is something to behold.  I see the brilliance of the artist, particularly if it’s true that he was colorblind, and poor of seeing, generally.  I just wish people in his time recognized his talent. 

There was one person who did.  That was his brother Theo.  Theo sponsored Vincent as he pursued art.  Theo paid his rent, generally kept him going.  It is said that Theo truly loved his brother and believed in him as an artist. 

When Vincent committed suicide at age 37, the news captivated the art world, and within a year people were flocking to his art.  Suddenly his art was worth money, but what strikes me is that neither Vincent or Theo got to benefit from the popularity.  Theo died only 6 months after his brother did.  They were buried together.

I don’t think Vincent would have lasted as long as he did if it had not been for Theo.  And because the bulk of his work was done in the last 2 years of his life, we owe the beauty of his work to that extra longevity, such as it was.

The point for me is that we all need a friend.  We all need somebody to believe in us.  And occasionally we need somebody to fill in the gaps of our lives, financial or otherwise.  And sometimes we are Vincent, and sometimes we are Theo.  Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  Theo lived up to that, and so should we.  The Apostle Paul said “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;” (Romans 12:10).  And in John 13 Jesus said: “By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (v.35).

Beloved, let us love one another,

Craig

“Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.”  Proverbs 15:17

A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-29-2022

Yesterday I went for a bike ride.  Waiting to cross Spanish River on the El Rio Trail, a motorist yelled at me to use the flashing crossing lights.  “Use the crossing lights, in God’s name” he yelled at me as he stopped for me.  The thing was, I didn’t intend for him to stop.  I was waiting for traffic to go by, but he insisted on stopping for me.  And to get angry.  And to yell at me.

I just looked at him.  What has gotten into us as a society that we feel like (one) people need to cross when we think they should, but more importantly, that we have the obligation, the right, the need, whatever, to yell our angry opinions at them?

Continuing riding, I approached the TriRail station – who knew you could bike ride to the TriRail?! – I pondered the angry motorist incident.  It seems like it’s the norm now to speak our minds, to “make our voices heard,” to complain in loud voice about whatever we happen to be thinking about at the time.

I thought about how this anger and voicing gets worked out in our culture.  Demonstrations, with their accompanying fiery speeches, have become much more prolific in the last couple of years.  Clashes of contrasting points of view get worked out on the streets.  And figuring out who the provocateur is and who the reactionaries are is the folly of figuring out which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Then, when I got home, the news flashed that an 18-year-old boy had shot and killed 19 children in Texas.  Another Parkland.  Another Sandy Hook.  Suddenly we were all traumatized by the worst of horrors, innocent children being slaughtered in the very place we intend for them to be safe in.  Like all of us, I just shrunk in horror and grief.  I lamented the senselessness of it all, and I grieved for the parents. They experienced something that I have been spared from and can’t imagine.

And then the bike ride thoughts came back.  Are these young men, are any of the perpetrators of mass shootings, not acting out their anger in the same vain as the motorist on Spanish River?  Now, there’s some scale that needs to be considered.  I get that – it’s much better for somebody to yell at you than to shoot you.  But are there some parallels that are happening across the board?  Are the shootings not extreme expressions of analogous thought patterns prevalent in our culture today?  Maybe the two incidents of that day are connected.  If so, what do we do about it?

Some politicians will argue that we should have gun control, some will argue for mental health resources.  Personally, I don’t think the politicians have the answers.  I think the answer is a spiritual one.

In the book of James, the apostle says: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  Very good counsel.  It’s hard to do that on your own though.  On our own we justify our own resentments.  On our own we connect our angry thoughts with malevolent actions.  It’s not easy to listen and not react.  A little later on in James he says: “pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail.”  With God’s help, we can change things!

I really think the solution to our country’s problems emanate from Scripture and have to start with us.  We need to be the first to listen.  We need to be slow to speak.  And we need to be the first in modeling how our disagreements do not need to yield to anger.  Never mind shooting somebody.

How does the hymn go?  “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”  Let’s fill our hearts and minds with that which produces peace.

Praying for us all,

Craig

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-22-2022

Far be it from me to argue with an astrophysicist, but…. last week I read an article by Marcelo Gleiser, who teaches astrology and physics at Dartmouth College.  He’s won the Templeton award for physics and whatnot.  Suffice it to say, he’s an accomplished smart guy in his field. He said that there is no way that there can be any other lifeform out there in the known universe (he underscores “known”).  From what this preacher gathered from the article, too many coincidences have happened over way too much time to allow for a lifeform to have history like ours, such as to sustain life as we know it.

OK.

Then today I read in the news that a lot of previously classified material under what we used to call UFOs has been declassified (if highly redacted).  In that material the government recognizes hundreds of (what they now call) “Unexplained Aerial Phenomena” – tomãto/tomâto.

In this article, they talked about objects that could whisk off in different directions and speeds that defy our ability to bend the laws of physics. They don’t know if they are distortions on radar, enemy equipment, or, wait for this, aliens. The government is open to the idea of aliens.  Maybe because the rest of us are open to that idea, or at least can be transfixed by the thought of what that would mean.

So, I don’t have a defined theory on aliens.  I am equally curious about the possibility, and very skeptical about any claims that they exist.  I loved the movie “Aliens” and fully understood it to be forever fiction. I don’t doubt that God could create all the creatures conjured in the Star Wars movies, but don’t expect to find such a federation.

What struck me, after reading the very scholarly presentation by the astrophysicist and then the colloquial article about UFOs, I mean, UAPs, is that the Internet, the media, whatever, presents us with contrasting claims to truth day in and day out. Is there life out there or not?  Well, the answer to that question depends on who you talk to.

But the truth is not that bifurcated. The truth is one or the other. We don’t know for sure right now, so Marcelo has his theory, and the X-Files another.  But, as they said on that great show: The Truth is Out There.

Now, THAT, I believe.  I believe the truth is out there. On any subject. We may have different perspectives on things, and the Theories of Special Relativity expound on this.  But the truth is out there.  And just as the astrophysicist suggests, the laws of physics and chemistry apply here as well as anywhere in the universe. The truth is the truth here, and anywhere.  Psalm 119:160 says “The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever.”  What God has said we can trust as true, and true forever.  When Proverbs 15:1 (for example) reminds us that: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” that was true 3000 years ago, and it is still true today.

Now, you gotta read it to know it, and study it sometimes to know how to live it. The Scriptures may not be immediately evident or clear, but they are true all the same.  The Scripture’s truth doesn’t change, and neither does truth, period.  The parameters that made one thing true at one point can change, and the conclusions change, but not the truth.

So, what is it?  Can there be life out there?  The professor says no and the government says maybe.  What I know is that all that is out there was created by God.  And whether it’s organic or inorganic, it reflects its Creator.  And I’m good with that.

Staring into the night’s sky,

Craig

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  Psalm 19:1,2

A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-15-2022

On the north side of our church property you will find a wall. I don’t really understand the wall – it doesn’t span our whole northern property line, it doesn’t even fully span the office building that I assume built it. And it has a break in it to allow people to walk through.  Maybe one of you all can explain it to me.

Currently, you can’t even see the wall. We have a company renting parking spaces that is doing infrastructure work for the city, and they have fenced it all off. But you can walk back there if you insist on verifying what I’m sharing here.

From our side of the wall, we have a very nicely landscaped parking lot. Lots of trees and bushes make the parking area look like a park. On the other side of the wall on the other hand, is a dumpster, the end of their parking deck, and the little walkway to get to our property. It’s not junky necessarily, but just a non-descript, least picturesque piece of their property. Nobody really goes there.

Which is why it struck me as odd yesterday when I walked through there, just to find a lovely, blooming
orchid. With four flowers in full bloom lined up sequentially, this purple hanging plant blared with contrast the beauty of these bright flowers against the backdrop of a dumpster and a bunch of concrete. Who put it there? And why?  Why waste such a beautiful flower where no one sees it?

That happens you know. There is a lot of beauty that goes unappreciated. Or at least apparently so. I think of the Washington Monument, where it says “Laus Deo” on the famous aluminum cap. Can anybody see it? To whom does it proclaim “Praise be to God?”  Well…

In Costa Rica there is a very boring, slow ride through the canopy of the rain forest. You imagine yourself riding up with the toucans and hovering over monkeys and wild cats.  But you know what?  They all hightail it out of there when they hear the whir of the cables (and the loud tourists).  But occasionally, way up there, you might see a magnificent beautiful flower, sunning itself at the very top of the tree line.  What a waste of a beautiful flower!  Who will see it?  Who will appreciate its beauty?  Well…

Every day there’s a nondescript woman who leaves a little food for the homeless. And a guy who picks up trash around the places where the homeless hang out.  Who sees them? Who appreciates their small acts of kindness?  Well…

That kind thing you did yesterday for somebody?  Nobody saw you, nobody thanked you.  Why did you do it?  Who noticed? Well…

God did. And God finds pleasure and delight in the random acts of kindness. He finds himself smiling at the flower of His own creation reaching out from the top of the trees. He is perpetually praised by an inscription on a famous monument that only He can read.

And me? I had the blessing of appreciating the beauty of an orchid, stuck in an ugly corner of a parking lot, a place where God can see it, and you too if you take a minute to find it. Beauty is that way.

Back to work,

Craig

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  Revelation 4:11 KJV