Is it True?   Let us pray…..   Rev. Stuart Buisch

Pilate asked it. The high priest asked it. Every day when we get news in any source we ask, ‘Is this true?’ Sadly, truth has taken a new turn in our generation.  In the political realm, truth is that which motivates the core to vote. In science, truth is that which can be tested and shown to be repeatable, therefore true. In relationships, we say the things that will engage the other with us more, make our connection stronger, sometimes throwing objective or subjective truth out the window. ‘Yes, that looks lovely on you – because we see the smile as they wear it. What would you like to do today, even when the answer has been the answer for a decade or longer?’
Truth is a problem today. Stephen traces his Jewish roots through the stories of Abraham, Isaac’s circumcision, Jacob’s twelve sons, the jealousy toward Joseph and the marvelous way that God got Joseph to Pharaoh to save much of the known world from famine, the unfolding of time and a new king that did not appreciate the Jews and the advent of Moses who delivered them from slavery. Then he traces David and the establishment of a temple and here he presents his truth.

God doesn’t live in buildings. God wants us to be open to the Lord’s presence living in us.

The history of faith is also a history of doubt.  At every turn of our journey and those who have journeyed before us and those who will journey after us there is an opportunity to choose God and God’s love and grace and there is also an opportunity to do it our way. Sarah had Abraham father a child through Hagar.  Sarah laughed at God when she was told that she would bear a son. Isaac watched his father tie him on firewood to sacrifice him. Joseph endured his brother’s jealousy, his brothers endured his incredible dreams. When Jacob died his sons were afraid Joseph would get his retaliation. The children of Israel in Egypt loved the urban life and the tasty foods but hated the slavery work.  On leaving Egypt they were glad for the freedom but bored by daily bread that they had to pick up and prepare. Entering the promised land, they were afraid of the inhabitants and refused to believe that they could overcome any obstacle. As the generations passed the stories of old were fun to listen to but very hard to connect with.  It was easier to assign legislation to God than belief.  God wants you to live this way.  God wants this rule followed rather than God wants you to know the Eternal One, the Almighty, the merciful source of compassion.
Each of us can make a list of what our faith requires of us.  But we often fail to see how our own choices influence the truth we have chosen for our list.  Ten minutes after we start our prayers, we want to finish so we can get on with our day.   
Ecclesiastes often portrays a leader who is most dissatisfied with his situation in life.  Having it all he realizes that it can be quite empty. So it is encouraging to hear him write that quiet, fewer words and more follow through on what you say is a better way to encounter God.  
For me, scripture discloses my descriptions of truth for what they are.  In God’s light I have the courage and wisdom to search out what I hear in the news and either be broken hearted because of minority Muslims in China being destroyed or ecstatic when I hear of one who is overwhelmed by their lot in life set free by some individual or group that has decided to walk beside them until they are at peace.
Scripture too compels me not simply to see the color of the sky at morning or let my eyes dance from star to star in a dark night sky, but to wonder and read and seek to understand what all that is behind our cosmos and our ecosystem can mean and my role with that.
Scripture encourages me because the stories of relationships in scripture are not exactly the way I hope our daughters grow up to relate to each other and to others.  However, I am incredibly blessed by the grace and forgiveness that unfolds in the lives of so many in Scripture.  Moses, a murderer is not on the loose murdering more but leading God’s people to freedom and credited with capturing the stories of God’s encounters with them. David, whose lust and scheming resulted in adultery and murder, survived the death of his children, the betrayal of his close associates and most difficultly, the recognition of his humanity and forgiveness, raising the bar on sinfulness that can be redeemed.
I continue to be saddened, perhaps wrongly, by the dearth of Bible experience/knowledge.  I don’t necessarily mean reading.  There may be those who read the Bible with some regularity but I say experience because I think the Sacred text calls for encounter.  Not a simple turning on of the Bible tapes, clicking on a Bible video or listening to someone’s blog, No I mean entering the story of scripture with your life.  Seeing yourself in the characters of Scripture.  Own not only your sin but also your redemption and living into it.  Not simply in these long lonely days of pandemic but every day, Amen.
Creator God, re-create our brokenness into well being…
Pain bearer, Christ, pour your love through us to a world searching for its way and meaning..
Breath of Life, Spirit, empower us to breathe into all that you have for us to be and  to do…