web analytics

Tag Archive | "Robert Eckert"

Keeping Warm?


Courtland-Oakfield-United-Meth

Pastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford

 

 

King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm” 1 Kings 1:1 (New Revised Standard Version).

The character of King David in Hebrew scripture is an enigma. He becomes a hero while still a child and grows into a “man after God’s own heart.” As his life draws to an end, however, he sinks into a winter of discontent. His condition has less to do with physical age and more to do with regrets. The wunderkind of courage, poetry, and conquest turned out to have feet of clay.

Driven by lust he plotted and successfully pulled the strings to accomplish the death of a man whose wife he had taken for himself, only to experience the gut-wrenching grief of seeing the child, who was the product of his illicit union, die in infancy.

Having led his armies to victory after victory establishing and securing the borders of ancient Israel, he is then disqualified by God from building a temple because of the wars he has waged and the blood on his hands.

Ruminating on moral failures and setbacks is a sure way to bring a chill to our souls that is difficult to overcome when guilt is undeniable and remorse is relentless. Imagine the bitter glare on David’s face when an insensitive attendant asked, “keeping warm?”

The Bible also tells a story of resuscitation when the prophet Elisha bends over a child lying dead on a mat “putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands.” As life returns to the boy “the flesh of the child became warm.”

It’s reminiscent of the account of the advent of humankind recorded in the second chapter of Genesis, where God is said to have “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

God, the breath of life, eye-to-eye and hand-to-hand contact, they add up to warmth.

Trying to stave off the cold of this unforgiving winter we’ve been living through? You know what your mother told you … layers. Trying to stave off the cold of the unforgiving memories of past mistakes? Try layers of breathing in God’s grace, upon layers of honest connections of the heart with people you love, upon layers of offering yourself in service to the needs of others.

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Liberty and justice for all


Courtland-Oakfield-United-MethPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford

 

I’m still thinking about Independence Day. Celebrations of “liberty and justice for all” are still fresh in mind. Even though the nation was founded with some limitations on the word “all” (African slaves, women, non-landowners, for example, weren’t originally included), I am grateful that there have been courageous, visionary leaders along the way to push us toward a full realization of the ideals on which our country was founded.

“All” is a potent little word that is particularly challenging in world made up of such a diverse collection of people. Whether by age, race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic heritage, cultural affinities, or any of a number of other characteristics, each of us can be defined and categorized in ways such that no one is identical to anyone else.

I am a transplant to this area having grown up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and lived for more than 30 years in Grand Rapids. There are reminders of many aspects of our nation’s diversity that are more evident in most cities than one is likely to find in the town-and-country living of the Cedar Springs area.

There are, however, other reminders of the full diversity of all creation in this part of the world, diversity of a different sort than shows up in urban settings. House wrens and grackles are just about the only birds flying the skies of Grand Rapids, along with the occasional cardinal, blue jay, or mourning dove. Here there are hummingbirds, orioles, and red-breasted grosbeaks; woodpeckers, bluebirds, and indigo buntings; Canada geese, blue herons, and bald eagles.

The writer of Psalm 139 has this to say about all that God has knit together and our place in the diversity of creation: “I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well” (Psalm 139:14, CEV).

We often struggle with our differences; we let them breed discomfort, fear, and resentment, but they are evidence of God’s hand in all that is (there’s that word again) and all who are.

“Liberty and justice for all” is not only a promise for Americans in civic and political arenas, it is the promise of God for those parts of our lives that yearn for wholeness and spiritual peace. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children” (Romans 8:21, CEV). That’s something to hope for, something to work for, something to grow toward, and that’s something for us to do together, all of us.

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off


advert

LOCAL Advertisers

Tri County Body Shop

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!