Butterflies and woven threads

Chaos theory developed in recent years as a way to come to terms with unexpected complexities in the natural order. That order seemed random and unpredictable the farther into it and the closer looks scientists were able to take observing how this world held together.

Even so, bit by bit certain patterns were recognized after all, some so strange as to seem almost magical. One such pattern, named by Edward Lorenz, came to be known as the Butterfly Effect. He observed that minute differences in an initial condition would lead to dramatically different outcomes. The principle was illustrated by saying that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world could set in motion ripples in the air that could culminate later in a hurricane somewhere else. It was a domino effect that grew larger as it proceeded. But the initial movement, the flapping of the butterfly’s wings, could be so small they were easy to miss, sometimes impossible to trace or measure.

The Lord recently gave me a glimpse of one butterfly effect that I had triggered in my life.

A lay eucharistic visitor who takes Holy Communion to sick and housebound folks mentioned the name of a new person he had gone to see a couple of weeks ago. I recognized the name as that of an old friend (also named Rick). My LEV friend asked if I wanted to go with him on his next visit. He was willing to push me in a wheelchair through the long halls of the facility where my old friend Rick lay dying. I decided to make the effort in spite of my stroke-shriveled condition. The next week I went ahead and put on my shirt and ministerial collar for the first time in several weeks and my LEV friend came by our house to pick me up.

My old friend Rick was asleep when we got to his room.

A young man, one of his grandsons, was at the bedside. He said Rick’s wife had stepped away and would soon return. So we waited quietly. I rolled my chair farther into the room so I wouldn’t block the doorway. After about ten minutes, I murmured to my LEV friend that we should just pray a blessing and go. Back when I was mobile and made such visits myself the rule was to not disturb anyone we found sleeping since that is hard to do in such interruption-laden environments! I quietly began a prayer for peace and comfort for Rick.

When I again opened my eyes I saw Rick’s wife standing in the doorway. And Rick himself had now opened his eyes. The LEV gathered us by Rick’s bed and led us through the Holy Communion liturgy.

Afterwards, Rick’s wife talked with us. She reminded me of some minor details of our history from over three decades ago that I had forgotten. What I remembered was that Rick and his family had been involved at the Episcopal church where I later became a deacon. Rick’s wife told me I was the one who had suggested they check out the parish way back before I went to it myself. She recalled butterfly wings waving. Here is the story.

In 1978, Melanie and I came to Lakeland, Florida. I had been hired as program director for a Christian radio station operated by the First Assembly of God church in town. Part of my job was to carry out public relations for the radio station with other churches in the area. I was a member of this local A/G church but was being paid to attend services at other churches on Sundays! This itself was an interesting answer to a question I had been pondering for many years in my heart. I was raised in the Assemblies (so was my wife) but I had begun to wonder how other church groups that claimed to be Christian could do so while “doing church” so differently from what I was used to. Now I would be paid to find out! Each week I visited a new church across the theological spectrum. I began to identify the things we had in common: Jesus Christ as Savior, the Bible, many familiar hymns.

One day, a charismatic Episcopal priest-evangelist came to visit me in my radio station office (located inside the Assembly of God church building). Fr. Phil was interested in doing a radio program. (I ended up being his announcer, helping tape the program for several years.) He invited me to visit the healing liturgy he conducted each week in St. Mary’s chapel at the Episcopal church just down the street where he was an associate to the rector. I soon did so. It was the first time I saw “the way Episcopalians do it” (by the Book… of Common Prayer!).

Sometime after I met Fr. Phil, as I continued visiting churches, I dropped by a small Presbyterian church on a Sunday morning. In the church bulletin I noticed there was a small home prayer group that met during the week. I decided my public relations assignment from the radio station would justify a visit there, too. My wife and I began attending.

We met Rick and his wife there at this home prayer group. I learned that Rick and Frank, in whose home the prayer group met, had begun getting together between Sunday morning services at their Presbyterian church, to pray for the services and the pastor. I decided to stop by and join them briefly any time I was on my way to visit churches nearby.

I soon learned one reason they were meeting for prayer like that.

In my church visiting, I had come to realize that even churches that had Bibles in the pews sometimes had a preacher in the pulpit who was skeptical or disinterested in it. The pastor of this small Presbyterian church was like that. It bothered Rick and Frank.

Soon Rick brought it up as a prayer request to the home group. He and his wife were ready to find another church home for their family, where orthodox Christian faith was upheld.

Rick and his wife were charismatic Christians. We prayed for healings in the home group gathering and saw them. Of course, the Assemblies of God was known for expecting such miracles for believers today. And I was in the biggest A/G church in town, a church growing every year because of such Spirit-filled testimonies.

But I suspected Rick would be looking for something a bit quieter than the exuberant services at my church. And I remembered my new encounter with Fr. Phil, the charismatic Episcopal priest.

“Why not check them out?” I suggested.

They did. They liked it and stayed. And when Frank took a new job in Connecticut and moved his family away, the home prayer group moved to Rick’s home. Soon I was meeting other people from the Episcopal church who had also begun attending it.

The time came when Melanie and I also left town, for a new job building a Christian radio station in Illinois. Our contact with Rick and his wife back here in Lakeland became mostly one of annual Christmas cards. We did not return to Florida until the late 1980’s.

Melanie and I had been stirred by our visits over the years to other churches. To our own surprise, we had both felt drawn to the holy reverence of liturgical worship in Catholic and Episcopal churches. We began seriously visiting the beautiful Episcopal church where Fr. Phil had once served. The rector he had served under had also moved on.

The new rector, Fr. Al, welcomed us whenever we showed up and never pressured us. But Fr. Al did find occasion to eventually suggest that I volunteer to be a chalice bearer at the altar. When he suggested I stand for the vestry it came out that I had not been formally confirmed in the Episcopal church. So Melanie and I  joined the next class. We attended it with the daughter of a new associate rector Fr. Al had brought on, the one who eventually succeeded Fr. Al after his retirement as the longest serving rector of the 130-year old parish. And I eventually became a deacon, Fr. Al’s last one at the parish.

But I must go back to those butterfly wings I mentioned. In the nursing care room where Rick lay dying, his wife mentioned a detail I had not known. I had heard that the senior Episcopal rector way back then, at the time I had first suggested the church to Rick, had been required to leave finally after some misbehavior. And I knew that after Rick and his family had attended for several years he had been elected to the vestry and been named Junior Warden for the parish. From that place of responsibility he had learned of the rector’s wrongdoing and forced the issue so it could not be ignored. The rector left. That opened the way for Fr. Al to be called, with all the fruitful years of ministry that followed in the next quarter century. All I did one day was suggest that Rick visit and see if they liked the church. I didn’t even attend myself at the time. But I have seen a hurricane of blessings that God had to pour out once the dominoes moved.

One more gust of wind to report. Rick and his family had, over the years, moved on to other parishes where they continued participating and serving in the life of local churches. When Rick got sick, his wife called on their old parish home, since we were near Rick’s nursing home, asking for someone to bring Holy Communion. No one in the church office recognized their name. The new rector, of course, had never heard of them. But my LEV friend asked for permission to respond and the rector consented. And I heard about it.

The visit became the first time I had ever shared in Holy Communion with Rick and his wife. It will also be the last for awhile. Rick died two days later.

Over the weekend, I suddenly realized something about Rick’s grandson, the one I had seen standing by Rick’s bed. This young man’s grandmother had been in Sunday school classes I taught in the Episcopal church I had sent Rick to. Rick’s daughter had met and married her husband at that church years ago. The breeze from those butterfly wings keeps blowing. The young man had no idea he was there partly because of something I did years ago. Just as the new rector had no idea that when that call for communion came it was from someone who played a distant part in him being where he was now.

The day after my visit to Rick, the day before he died, the weekly prayer group that Melanie and I host met in our home.

Laurel brought along a kneeling cushion that she has been stitching for the church altar for two years. There are hundreds and hundreds of small woven threads, carefully and tediously sewed over hundreds of hours. I asked Laurel if she had sewed her initials into the cushion, so we could know who to thank. Laurel still knows how to blush. There was no need for that, she told me, embarrassed that I would even ask.

So the cushion will lay on the steps before the altar of the Lord anonymously, for years to come. Each small thread will make its contribution. Because each one was carefully placed in order, none will draw any attention to itself, away from the whole, distracting away from the purpose for which it was called: to enable and support the prayers and praises to the Lord Jesus Christ being offered to glorify his name.

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The plaque

I can imagine the conversation when the customer came back to pick up the plaque he had ordered.

What is this??

It’s the plaque you ordered the other day. Like it?

This isn’t what I ordered.

What? Did we get the wrong finish on the wooden base?

This isn’t what I asked for.

But I remember you picking out this model from the samples. I filled out your order myself.

This isn’t what I asked for.

Did we misspell a word…? I have the written order form right here. I wrote down exactly what you said.

That’s what I said but that’s not what I asked for.

But this is exactly what you said. I remember writing your words down carefully so there would be no mistake. You agree this is what you said?

I said the words but this is not what I meant.

You said it but you didn’t mean it?? How is this our problem if you didn’t mean what you said? That’s why we ask and write down what a customer says, so there won’t be any room for mistakes. We try to be very careful because we don’t want unhappy customers.

I thought you understood what I was saying. I was speaking your language.

And I put down EXACTLY what you said! You’ve told me so! Where’s the problem? We ask. We listen. We put your words down. We don’t make them up. What else can we do?

You did exactly the opposite of what I asked.

But you just told me this is exactly what you said when I asked what you wanted on the plaque!

I didn’t want anything on the plaque.

But that makes no sense! Why would you want a plaque with nothing on it? That’s not what anyone asks for. That makes no sense.

I didn’t realize I had to explain why I wanted what I wanted. I thought all I was supposed to do was say what I wanted you to do and you would do it. Am I supposed to go ahead and pay you for doing what you wanted to do with my plaque? That’s not what I came here for.

But this is what you said to do when I asked you what you wanted!!

It’s what I said. But you didn’t do what I wanted.

How can you blame me for doing what you said you wanted?? This is frustrating me! You are making it all too difficult. If you’re unhappy with what we did, it’s your own fault.

* * * * *

And on and on. It must have been like this the day Jesus asked his disciples, “How long shall I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19 CSB) Or the day when crowds of his followers said,  “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60 ESV) People were hearing the words but not the meaning.

A friend of mine who teaches Sunday School talks about “truncated” interpretations. We go in for a sermon, or Bible study, assuming God must mean what makes sense to us and only that. It’s not that God speaks nonsense to us. We just fail to hear not the words He is saying but what He is saying. We end up with nonsense that pleases neither one of us in the conversation. And we find it easy to conclude it is God’s fault.

I am thinking we should all put this plaque next to our Bibles, to remind us we need to listen carefully, to make sure we hear more than the words. If we don’t do this seriously, the unsatisfactory results are our fault.

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How to glorify God

There’s a command, an order, a specific task given to us on Earth that is repeated several times in the Bible.

An example in the Old Testament:

Psalm 29:2  Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name.

In the New Testament an angel states it universally to the entire world.

Revelation 14:7  Fear God and give glory to Him….

Paul wrote one of the new churches and told them it didn’t much matter what else they did if they failed to do this.

I Corinthians 10:31  Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

“Whatever you do…” Okay. How?

Before his death on the cross, at the meal with his disciples, Jesus offered an insight.

John 15:8  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit….

Melanie has been in excruciating back pain for four months. She has barely been able to take care of her stroke-crippled husband. Her loving, costly efforts surely qualify as the fruits of a devoted heart. She did it for me. Jesus says he thinks she did it for him. (Matthew 25:40)

Last week a friend drove her to a back-pain doctor recommended by another friend from church. Three days ago, yet another friend drove her to a clinic for an MRI. And this morning the pain doctor said she’d reviewed the report with our regular doctor. They both wanted Melanie to report to ER right away. They thought there was a lesion or infection that needed further testing. (As I write this paragraph the music I have on plays a modern version of an aria from Handel’s Messiah: “Comfort ye, My people….” I am crying anyway.)

We have scrambled to try to get nutritional drinks for my midday meal out where I can reach them while she is gone. We know any ER visit must factor in several hours of waiting for your number to come up. At the moment, we think she may be able to return home by evening. The other possibility is several days in the hospital for treatment. That will be more complicated.

Yesterday (just in time?) I had come across some verses and made a note in case I wanted to blog something about them.

Psalm 50:15  Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me… 23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me….

So, trying to calm myself as yet another friend drove Melanie away for God knows how long, I croaked out a song that was coming to mind.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

And I have looked up other verses from this old hymn.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Jesus, I can recognize this as a day of trouble. Your Word promises that everything works out for good for those you call. So I’m trying — choosing — to offer you praise while I wait for you to deliver my precious wife and me.

The music I have on has moved on and Steve Green is now singing in his full-throated, electrifying way,

I KNOW that My Redeemer lives!

And another Psalm flares into my brain.

Psalm 103:1. Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4. Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

8. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

11. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
15. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
17. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him.

And that is surely enough reason to give Him glory, no matter what.

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What?? is the holdup

A devotional writer returned my attention to the story of the lame man lowered on his bed through a hole in the roof when his friends carrying him to Jesus couldn’t find a way through the crowd of people mobbing him. (Matthew 9:1 ff, Mark 2:1 ff, Luke 5:17 ff)

I have written about this episode, taking note of how this was one occasion where apparently no one made a specific request for Jesus to “do something.” Wasn’t it obvious what the guy needed? Since it was left up to Jesus to figure it out, Jesus did the best thing for him. He forgave the man’s sins. Healing the man was almost a throw-away demonstration for the sake of making a point with Jesus’ critics.

Consider the guy on the bed. The writer I mentioned had us imagining the effort the four friends had to make hauling the guy on his mat up onto the roof even before they could tear the hole to let the man down inside the room where Jesus was. Every part of that effort must have seemed scary to the poor guy.

You’re going to do what? WHAT?!?

If he had known that Jesus wasn’t going to get right to it and heal him immediately I’m sure it would have made him even more hesitant to let his friends haul him around like they did. And it would have delayed his healing. And it would have lost a teachable moment for a bunch of observers that really had no interest in the man himself or his problems. “Give up my front row seat and a chance to see this novelty act people are talking about? What?”

Why is it that it seems like nothing happens sometimes when we think God was going to do something?

It’s that “what.”

Jesus told some parables about banquet invitations that were sent out to the local citizens. (Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:15-24) The actual start of the banquet gets delayed because there are still some empty seats. The king refuses to allow the humiliation of seats being empty and keeps sending servants out to find people to come in. The people who are already seated must wait until every prepared seat is filled. What’s the hold up? they may wonder. And they’re right.

It’s all those people who knew there was a big banquet but, when invited, just said, “What? It’s not convenient. I already had plans.”

Perhaps some of the delay is because people who knew of the banquet failed to share the news with their neighbors as they were expected to do. I can imagine the table chatter while the people sit around, all dressed up, stomachs growling, nibbling crackers.

You mean this delay is partly MY fault?? What…???

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Word of mouth

Why didn’t God wait to start this His new covenantal church era in a time when He would have the internet and decent advertising tools available to publicize it?

Not that His slow-and-tiny way of starting didn’t seem to work out okay. Mark notes in passing that mere conversation of one person to another, sharing the buzz, even when travel of any distance from home was difficult, was enough to quickly jam up crowds wherever Jesus went.

When Mark tosses off place names and territories out of which people were coming to see Jesus, he is basically saying “they came from everywhere.”

Tyre and Sidon were at the far northwestern edges of Israel, along the Mediterranean. Idumea was old Edom, the territory to the south of Jerusalem in the lower territory of the nation. “Beyond the Jordan” were the eastern lands.

The rapid early spread of the news about Jesus, even before he formally chose disciples and sent them out to preach, indicates just how sensational his reputation was to people. It had been hundreds of years since the people of Israel had witnessed prophets or miracle workers in their midst. It is not surprising that even stern instructions from Jesus to keep news of their healing a secret failed to stop the lips of grateful people. They talked anyway. The news traveled far and traveled fast.

Of course, Jesus was only interested in testimony from those he came to rescue. All Creation already bore witness to the reality of God. (Romans 1:20) Jesus didn’t need demons to squawk about him. (Mark 3:11-12)

The way that word got around so well could be seen as a trial run. It demonstrated that, after the new Church was born at Pentecost, Jesus could be certain that people would hear about it. It was enough to depend on word of mouth, one person at a time, talking about what happened to them.

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Valentine Lent

This year, Lent begins on St. Valentine’s Day. One day is traditionally marked by giving gifts of love, the other by the less popular practice of giving up something “for your own good.”

For several years Melanie and I made it a point during Lent to invite people to our house once a week for dinner. We would invite people from our church that we “knew” but didn’t really “know.”  These were the folks we smiled at on Sundays, knew their names, but really knew little else about them. So we would invite them for supper and in an hour or so change that and grow closer to new friends around the table. I used to joke with people that we were “giving up our privacy for Lent.”

That was how we got to know a senior citizen who lived by herself in an apartment building near the church. She had, in years past, been the organizer of senior trips for the church. We had kind of known that although we were a long way from being seniors ourselves. Something we didn’t know was that she had run the post office near our house before she retired. After supper she reminded us we had promised her we would play a game of Scrabble. She regaled us with stories about things at the church that happened long before we joined it.

Another time we invited an elderly couple who had been in church pastoral ministry for years, in our present denomination and in another one when they were young. They stunned us at dinner that night telling us Melanie and I were the first ones in all their years to ever invite them into their home for a meal.

Usually we just invited the parents and not the children since we had a small home. But one year it occurred to us that perhaps a mom with young children would appreciate a night off from fixing the family meal. There was a McDonald’s next to a mini-golf game in our town. We invited one whole family, parents and three young kids, to be our guests for burgers, fries, and a round of golf. I took my camera along and took pictures for them of the mob scene. There was less conversation that night but more laughter.

The last few years things have been different for Melanie and me. A stroke has kept me mostly housebound, barely able to swallow soup without choking. Melanie got Lyme Disease (energy draining) and then spinal stenosis (excruciating pain) that forces her to stay quiet in bed for much of the day. We don’t get out or “entertain guests” any more.

It was in these circumstances that I had an unsettling thought about a parable Jesus told about wheat and weeds growing side by side. (Matthew 13:24-30) It was for the safety of the good wheat that the master refused to pull the weeds early. Leaving the weeds in place protected the wheat from harm. Jesus interprets the parable as a description of how God is growing the Kingdom of Heaven. And I wondered if I should recognize particular applications at the personal level.

Not that I was a “weed” in the wheat field, exactly. But was some of our weed-sickness being used by God for the good of the wheat-saints growing around us?? Melanie and I have both noted, with astonishment, how God’s mercy, kindness, and care have been brought to us by Kingdom saints stepping up to help us. They are growing in grace because we are there needing the help and they are responding to that. To the Lord’s command. As he intended.

Both Melanie and I pray for healing every day and with nearly every visitor who stops by. We would love for our lives to return to “normal.” I would be so happy to see Melanie get through a day without crying out at the stabbing pain afflicting her.

But while we pray, I do begin to wonder. Is our weedy brokenness a sort of Valentine love gift God is giving to these other saints?? Is this Lenten sacrifice season of ours some of what Jesus’ brother James was talking about?

James 1:Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James spoke of the benefit to the one suffering. I am wondering if God also sees a benefit to those nearby, an opportunity to show and share His love that would vanish if the “weeds” were removed too quickly. Would I want any of God’s saints to find it harder to grow in His graces in ways that bring praise to the Father?

I’m trying to see that Lenten Valentine gift given to me to share as “pure joy.”

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Metal detectors and violins

Recently I enjoyed listening to a conversation between two highly regarded Christian teachers, one a Protestant and one a Roman Catholic. They had been invited to share the stage in a symposium looking at the challenges of sharing the Christian faith in a disinterested society.

The Protestant speaker used an illustration to portray the difficulty of sharing truths of faith with anyone who restricts discussion to a materialistic or “scientism” plane. The speaker said it was like a man who has the world’s most powerful metal detector. The man discovers all kinds of metallic objects easily. But he never finds any objects made out of wood. So he decides wood doesn’t exist.

So much for baseball bats, catcher’s mitts, wine bottles, corks, and violins. The Catholic speaker agreed it was a great illustration of how the choice of an intellectual channel or filter could blind one from perceiving actual, useful objects.

What astonished me was how the brilliant Protestant teacher then proceeded to unconsciously exhibit the same kind of limited perception in a couple of areas that came up for discussion in the conversation that night.

The Catholic speaker noted how people today resist the idea that there is a single right or wrong standard in life choices. The spirit of relativism encourages people to reject such limitations. “Who are you to tell me what to do? If I decide it’s right for me, that’s all that matters.”  This Catholic speaker, looking for a way to still bear witness to the reality of God and Jesus in his life, had concluded that the best way to start conversations was not to argue about the standards of right and wrong and God’s law. Instead, he recommended a “sideways” approach through “beauty,” which amounts to beginning with an appreciation for what God has already done before bringing up any discussion of what God wants us to do. That which is already beautiful jumps right past any barriers protecting our freedom to choose anything that pleases us. This teacher has gained a reputation for holding out this approach as an effective model for evangelizing, or starting the conversations that can lead to Christian witnessing.

One thing I admired about the behavior of both the men that night was the respect and humble honesty they exhibited to each other. Perhaps the most vivid moment of this came during the time when all questions from the audience were set aside and the two speakers were given the chance to ask each other questions directly. The question that most surprised me came when the Protestant brother ask the Catholic speaker for help. This famous Protestant speaker has written dozens of books over the years defending the Reformed Protestant theological position of the Christian faith. He has successfully faced renowned atheists in college debates across the country. He has two doctoral degrees earned in his Bible studies. He is a brilliant Christian apologist.

He turned to the Catholic brother seated next to him on the platform that night and simply said, I don’t understand it. Can you explain a bit more to me about how a discussion of “beauty” helps us in Christian evangelism? He seemed to be confused by the idea of taking a slower, indirect approach, and not just going immediately for an invitation to pray a “sinner’s prayer.”

The Catholic speaker, who also has a world-wide audience for his own efforts in Christian evangelism and training, had already expressed his respect and admiration for what the Protestant brother’s ministry had accomplished. He had talked about how excited he was to finally meet the man and share the stage with him. He took the question now and gently and briefly reviewed some quick points for his friend. And the conversation moved on.

Earlier in the day, in an exchange of serious academic papers in front of a small group of scholars, each of the two guest speakers made a presentation, heard a response from the other guest, and then there was a round table discussion among all those in the room. The Protestant guest speaker presented a call for Catholic theologians to join with Protestants in a more vigorous championing of the “penal substitution” interpretation of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. This interpretation is popular in Reformed circles of the Church. The Protestant apologist cited a great number of Scripture verses as well as many Christian writers through the ages to support this interpretation.

When it was time for a response from the Catholic guest he affirmed the points the Protestant speaker had made. Then he reviewed the other Scripture verses which have supported other (though not contradictory) interpretations of the atonement. Some of the other interpretations draw on images that are more than simple logical constructs. He concluded with a low-key summary saying he did not see any necessity to “choose just one” interpretation from among all of them since God’s Word saw fit to include each of them.

A metal detector can locate coins, rings, jewelry in metal settings, keys, buried wires. All these things, in the narrow range the detecting method is designed for, are valuable and worth finding.

But there are other treasures equally valuable that wait to be found. This is true in our life with Christ. We should be cautious about losing them because our vision is too limited, because we have put on restricting filters that screen out what God has put there for us to see.

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