Though they are not there yet (“Are we there yet?”), the Tigers certainly look as though they are getting closer to being playoff contenders. I don’t know if anyone saw their last two games, but they ended up winning the 3-game series against the Twins in a most exciting way. And even the game they lost was fun to watch!
Speaking of “getting closer” and “having fun,” Monica and I are just two days away from celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. I believe it also will be the 38th anniversary of my ordination (I was a DCE, student, and then vicar the first seven years). And please do not misunderstand me, I am NOT saying I am “getting closer to having fun” … it has been fun all the way (at least for most of the days).
August (which is right around the corner) and September are great months for all of us to make “getting closer” plans … like returning to corporate worship or joining a faith-growing fellowship … that help us be drawn closer to Jesus – and add joy to our lives as well. The closer we are drawn to him, the more we are able to live in and experience his love. And the more we live in and experience his love, the less frozen we will be by fear, anger, and the like … and the more fun we will have and be.
My mind returns to quotes from “The God-Shaped Brain” by Dr. Timothy Jennings:
- The core, central, primary characteristic of God is love (1 John 4.8). Not the silly, finite, flimsy, emotional, wax-fruit imposter we sometimes call love, but a boundless, eternal, bottomless, never-ending, reality of goodness on which the cosmos is built! A love that lasts, that creates, that is constant. (p. 22)
- God’s law of love is the outward flow of his personhood in the constant dispersion of himself to create, uphold and sustain the universe. This giving, outward moving other-centered love is the design on which all creation was constructed to operate. The law of love is the principle of selfless giving, which is the foundation upon which all life is built to function. Simply put, the law of love is the law of life! Harmony with this principle brings life, health, and happiness. Disharmony, naturally, results in pain, suffering, and death. “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (I John 3.14). (p. 24)
- Fear is an intruder, an unnatural invader, like a flesh-eating bacteria – ravaging and deforming all creation. As soon as Adam believed the lies about God and the circle of love and trust was broken, fear infected the human heart. Fueled by fear and selfishness, the imagination of men ran wild and created every distorted, twisted, and perverted idea about God, which only incited more fear. … Fear born of sin is a noxious uneasiness boiling in our unconscious minds, threatening to destroy our every happiness. (p. 45-46)
- Fear comes in many sizes and shapes. At one end of the fear spectrum is the megalomaniac – the type of fear demonstrated by Hitler (etc.) … Fear became their weapon against society, splitting, dividing, conquering, and destroying. … And history is clear: where fear abounds, death quickly follows. … On the other end of the spectrum from the megalomaniac is the human “mouse” – afraid of rejection, fearful of embarrassment, terrified of criticism. … Rather than surviving, rather than healing, rather than growing, all are slowly dying and destroying others in the process. Life, health, and happiness are only found where love flows free. And love only flows free where the truth about God is known! (p. 46-47)
This wonderful promise of Jesus, “Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. … Provide yourselves with moneybags that will not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12.32-34) comes right after Jesus says, “Seek God’s kingdom and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12.31) There is no value in waiting until the Tigers are World Champions again, now is the time to ignore whatever it is that inhibits you from getting closer to Jesus … and to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118.24)
“Jesus still lead on till our rest be won; Heavenly leader, still direct us, still support, console, protect us, till we safely stand in our fatherland.” (LW 386)