DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Now is the time to listen
God is love, no matter which way the wind blows. In an imperfect love, maybe we can experience this love by sharing our worries and not expecting an immediate answer.
Once there was an irreligious farmer who glorified his secular life and with that, he had contempt and disdain for the church.
He wrote the following letter to the editor of his hometown newspaper: “Sir: I have been trying an experiment with a field of mine. I plowed it on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I harvested it on Sunday. I carted the crop home to the barn on Sunday. And now, Mr. Editor, what is the result? This October I have more bushels to the acre from that field than any of my neighbors in theirs.”
The editor of that village was not known to be a religious man. The farmer expected applause. With wisdom and respect the editor printed his letter as written … but he added this one editorial comment: “God does not always settle accounts in October.”
There once was a salesperson who visited a farm that had a weathervane on the top of the barn that said, “God is Love.” The salesperson looked at the weathervane and then he said to the farmer, “Do you think that God’s love is as changeable as the weathervane?” The farmer looked down and kicked a little dirt with his foot. He said, “For me, ‘God is Love’ no matter which way the wind is blowing.”
People have many views when it comes to religion. Some support their worshiping community as family. Some have been hurt and resent the church. Some oppose all beliefs and are even upset that I am able to write this article. Others … well you fill in the blank.
With so many issues facing us that have strong emotions on all sides, now is the time to listen. We are given two ears and one mouth for a reason. For me it is also time to have a sense of humor. When mistakes are made at church I say, “If we had a perfect world, we would not need a church.”
Between services last Sunday, I invited folks to come to our adult education room with their coffee. We went around the table and answered this question, “What worries you?” Believe me, the issues were many.
Instead of arguing about what is right or wrong, we simply listened and gave each person space to express themselves. I kept track of the concerns, and we prayed and ended our time with the Lord’s Prayer.
Views on Sabbath rest vary. Belief that we have a loving God is debated. People react to the church for reasons known unto God.
At our meeting we fixed nothing. We shared from the heart. We listened, and maybe being a safe place for folks to express themselves is enough for now. If not, I pray for forgiveness.
Rev. Steve Norby serves as lead pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Park Rapids.