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2013 Issue 9

Reflections from Ray ~ September 2013

     If you had hung around Jesus for three years the way His closest disciples did, what would you have come away with ? 
Perhaps you would have come to know the upside-down way that Jesus saw the world.  Jesus taught that we experience God in counterintuitive ways.  Paradoxes are seemingly contradictory statements that reveal truth, and Christianity is full of them. 
That used to bother me.  I like things to be “neat and tidy.”  But when I got beyond resisting the ambiguity and living without having to “pigeon-hole” everything, then I realized that these paradoxes go far beyond standard teaching.  They really make me think and struggle with what I really believe.

     PARA means beyond and DOX means a belief or something that is taught.  The real power of a paradox is that it takes us beyond the standard teachings of what we have come to know.  Nothing matters – everything matters, is a paradox, because it contradicts itself.  Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century theologian who changed the course of Christian thinking.  After spending most of his lifetime writing important theological works, he said, “My works are like straw.”  Then he quit writing.  Soon afterward, he died.  He was really saying, “Everything that I have done up to this point is as nothing in the face of God’s greatness.  My words might mean something to others, but to God, they are a pittance.”  Everything he did mattered, but in absolute humility Aquinas recognized that it really did not matter as much as we might think.  Everything had mattered to him, but he knew that from God’s perspective it did not really matter.

     Maybe my life does not matter as much as I thought it did.  Maybe I am not as important as I seem to make myself. 
So what if I do not turn out to be the greatest    human being ever ? What if I end up being only average ? Does that matter to God ? Then I thought about the other side of the statement: Everything matters. If I act like nothing matters, then I turn into a human slug who contributes nothing to life. I cannot go through life treating everything as nothingness. If I do that, then my service to God dies. What I do matters. Such is the tension in living with paradox.

Blessings ! ~ Pastor Ray


Schools Are in Session

Inside this Issue page
Reflections continued 2
September Birthdays 3
Things to Remember/ prayers 3
cw Thoughts & Invite 4
Mary Adams Reports 5
Crop Walk 5



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