Today is January 15, 2020. This pastor is still trying to accept that the year is truly 2020. Do you remember how some people were concerned when the date was December 31, 1999? Some felt a great cosmic happening would take place, and here we are twenty years beyond that date, and we are still HERE. We humans frequently make the comment to each other about how fast time goes by once we have grown up to be adults. Perhaps we need to make the most of every fleeting day that God has granted us by having hearts that are full of compassion and love for one another. After all, is that not the purpose of life – to love one another and to reach out in thoughtfulness to those who need our love and strength?
Down in my shop, I have a television I can listen to or watch while I am working. And yes, when I am using my table saw, I do not watch tv. When I am sanding an object or painting a project, I can watch the screen without doing damage to myself or my project.
Dale reads my walk so I have written the above so that she will be assured that I work safely in my woodworking area. But I would like you to know that as well.
Dale does not like my choice of tv programs sometimes for I will watch a western series or at times, believe it or not, “The Little House on The Prairie.” That is a good program for me to watch as an elderly man and as a retired pastor. In recent times, I have avoided watching the evening news and many of the disgusting, crude advertisements and programs on television.
Years ago, when I was a pastor in Attleboro, Massachusetts, my associate pastor gave a sermon with an illustration from the then current program of The Little House on the Prairie. I must admit back then I thought that was a strange program for a pastor to mention in a sermon. I was wrong. This morning as I watched an episode, it included teaching a mistreated little boy who could not speak how to use sign language to talk to others. There was a sermon in the prairie chapel regarding taking a strange child into a community. There was a court trial where a man at first perjuring himself changed and testified how the small boy had been mistreated by his guardian. There was a judge who found in the church service that he had been incorrect in his verdict to send the small boy to an institution and tore up the verdict telling the man who cared for the child to turn him in to the institution in some twenty years.
Yes, I watched the whole program forgetting, at times, to work on my table project. The program was uplifting; it had a moral of a community living together and seeking to be a good community in which to raise small children. And yes, there was that “Horrible Mrs. Olsen,” to illustrate the way a kind person, a Christian, should never act.
It is ok to escape reality sometimes, isn’t it? It is acceptable to watch an innocent type of program, don’t you think? An elderly man has a right, does he not, to escape our torn and dysfunctional society?
When I was a child, our country was united against an evil foe. We did not have the division of society that we have now. Today there are those who wish our nation to become a socialist nation, there are those who wish our nation to remain a constitutional-based nation, and those who think that we should move away from that ancient document. There are those who feel that we should move toward a communistic form of government because the rich are growing richer and the poor are getting poorer. And our politicians on all sides have their agenda against each other for they wish their party to remain in power. Some of our heartache in this nation comes from those who hunger and thirst not for righteousness but for power.
If we are to be a great people, we must concern ourselves with governmental affairs. We cannot turn our backs to being responsible citizens, BUT I think it is imperative that we take time away from all that turmoil to read a science fiction novel, or a mystery, or to watch a wholesome television program to keep ourselves from becoming despondent and feeling helpless to change the events around us that we find disturbing and that lead us to a sense of hopelessness.
Yes, it is ok to escape realty for a time but, also, we should turn strongly to our faith. This is a good age in which to read our Bibles. It is a time to remember that God is found in dark places as well as in the beautiful world of nature or a time of love and happiness.
I belong to a book group in our church here in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and we have been reading the sermons of Harry Emerson
Fosdick. He speaks of the time of Moses, and how when he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and had a life of ease, he was not the man who led his people out of the dark time of slavery. He found God more in the darkness than in the light of day. May, in this time, our faith be like that of Moses. In the darkness of our time, may we find a greater faith, a reaching out to those who need our love and caring.
This pastor may watch an episode of a tv program to relax for a moment, but to live life, I must turn to the basis of my Christian faith and that is found in Holy Scripture. In this age, we need to know where our Bible is located and pick it up and read it, especially Matthew five, six and seven, the Sermon on the Mount.
Thanks for walking with me – see you next week – Maybe next week I will tell you about a rather difficult neighbor who lived next door. Until then –
“MAY THE LORD WATCH BETWEEN ME AND THEE WHILE WE ARE ABSENT ONE FROM THE OTHER.”