I was able to go to church last Sunday. I do not get to do that very often. Not because of the Covid-19 terror which plagues our land or a lack of desire to attend, rather as a pastor I am usually presiding in the Divine Service, not participating as a worshipper. My “going to church” is marked as my vocation and there are only a handful of times a year where I just go to church and sit in the pew as a layperson.
The church library is unlike any place in at church. Grandmothers bring their well-worn novels that helped them make it through the tough times. Teachers bring their trusted curriculum in hopes that someone else will benefit like they did. Mothers bring their sentimental wholesome children’s books that their babies have now outgrown. Pastors bring their overflowing resources that have gone unused on the office shelf. The church library is quickly filled with the generous donations of the faithful in hopes that someone else will love this collection written words as much as they once did.
The premise is just past the edge of absurd: a man goes to a “spa,” hoping to be rejuvenated in the same way his high-energy coworker has been. But when he wakes up and has to dig himself out of a shallow grave, he soon discovers that it is not really him who’s been rejuvenated. He’s been cloned and his clone is seemingly better in every way.
The bookstores are full of books on prayer. When the pastor conducts a survey for possible Bible study topics, one of them is bound to be prayer. And why not? Praying seems to be the thing to do in the Bible, Christianity and all religions. Jesus prayed.
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In his argument with Erasmus about free will, Luther makes a profound case for the clarity of Holy Scripture and knowing the mind of God. One of Erasmus’ methods of dismantling Luther’s assertions was to point to the mystery and unknownness of God. He called to his side verses such as Isaiah 40, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” and Paul’s similar statement that “his judgments are incomprehensible.” (Romans 11:33). At first these words seem to make the case that we should always be wary of ever talking about God as if He is comprehensible. Many quickly shut down any conversation about the interpretation of Scripture by pointing to these verses. How often do aspiring theologians on the airplane conclude their opinions by waxing eloquent about God’s incomprehensibility, pretending to preserve God’s godhood?