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Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Turlock, CA

Pastor's Thoughts for April 2009


Each month our pastor writes to us from our Turlock church to share his thoughts on a topic of religious significance. His goal is to link the word of God as it is presented in the Bible and apply it to the context of our daily lives. Although each of these messages is dated they are in fact timeless in their spiritual significance.

Easter's True Vision

Civilizations have always recognized that there must be some greater power in the universe than that of human beings. We have understood deep within ourselves that there has to be a greater intelligence behind it all.

Where is it that we learn about this greater power? Of course it is in the Bible. The Bible is our resource. Why? Because the Bible is the divinely inspired record of God's redemptive act in Jesus Christ for which the Old Testament prepared the way and the New Testament proclaims.

In other words, God is revealed in Jesus Christ. Acts 17:24 says, in essence, the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. This God gives to all men life and breath and everything.

The Bible is the record of God revealing himself. It begins in Genesis with pre-history in the first few chapters and progresses through world history with a religious interpretation and ends with post-history in Revelation.

But the key to it all is in the fact that we believe (as John tells us in the beginning of his Gospel), God understood that remaining invisible would not help us to understand his righteous expectation and therefore he became flesh and blood so we could see him as the living God in history.

So we can see that Jesus Christ is focused into time. It's a time when God showed himself in flesh and blood, and a time when God has focused his "warning" that we must understand his divine intentions, without which we will fail.

Our worship acknowledges who we really are and the relationship that is ours.

As Christians we believe that worship ought to reflect our relationship to this living God. It is recognizing God as our creator and us as the created. We are connected to this holy and righteous one.

But the Christian believes that everything is connected to the God who revealed himself in history.

History is an observation of time. I have been to the Holy Land twice and one of the things that really struck me was "time." In America, anything 500 years old is ancient. In the Holy Land I was walking the road where Jesus walked some 2000 years ago. I looked at rocks and boulders that I was told were over 5000 years old. I couldn't imagine time in those terms. I couldn't conceive of that kind of time.

The Bible talks about time as a sequence of events, beginning with the creation of the world by God, followed by specific events along the way and culminating in the prophecy of the book of Revelation (which has not yet taken place). And furthermore the Bible says that a thousand years is as a day in the sight of the Lord. Time is important to us; but not to God.

And so we are a part of history in relationship to the living God. History fits into God, not God into history.

When we are young, we think we will live forever. When we grow old, we know that death is not far away. But because history fits into God rather than God fitting into history, death is not a mistake. It is a part of God's plan.

We have difficulty with death for a lot of reasons. It often seems unfair, knowing how bad people live on and good people die. It seems unfair when young people die long before their time. But we know that death is part of God's plan, that there is this "gate" through which we pass from the world's "time frame" into God's "time frame". And it is God's plan.

So what is Easter's true vision?

True vision of life is the ability to see what is invisible. The God of history is revealed in Jesus. Our worship acknowledges who we really are and the relationship that is ours. God is an awesome God. He has promised that death is not a mistake. The Easter message is that there is new life now, and life after death.

This is true vision.

-Pastor Starkey