January 2015



Eyes Wide Open
Seeing & Appreciating God in Everything

There is a sense of beauty or satisfaction in life that we hope or yearn for and it leaves us wondering why do I still want more? Or is this all there is in life?

In this world we crave perfection. We ultimately want nothing to go wrong, no pain, no loss, no disagreements, and in essence we want it all. A three-year-old child at Christmas time can illustrate our longings in life. After opening the equivalent of a small toy store’s worth of gifts and gadgets, the child collapses into a pool of tears because there were no more presents to open. Alexander the Great, upon conquering the known world, openly wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. Whether kids or kings, we are all the same. Earthly beauties and pleasures are imperfect, fleeting, and ultimately, meaningless. So how do we find satisfaction when this imperfect world fails to deliver? I believe by keeping our eyes wide open, aware, and keen to God’s presence in our lives, and all around us. As Martin Luther once said,

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.”

God blesses us in so many ways each day, and at times we take that for granted or can be so blind to God’s faithfulness to us that we become faithless in our living. As one of your pastors who shares in the ministry here at Hope, I have heard quite often from new members and especially from council members and employees that, until they saw the inner workings of the congregation, they had no idea all that went on here at church in a day, week, or month. They get a glimpse of all the work and effort that goes into the ministry we are a part of to serve God and one another.

In any given time, if one closes their eyes too long they will miss a group of people meeting, a dessert delivered for a funeral, donations for Orphan Grain Train dropped off, bulletins being
photocopied and folded, a mailing going out, caring people supporting one another overcome addition, the church being decorated, someone in need, or a host of other activities.

The beauty of Hope Lutheran Church is that the mission and ministry that happen here is bigger than any one of us and is bigger and more important then we will ever realize. You make a difference, your church makes a difference, and by God’s grace it is beautiful! Another famous Martin Luther quote reminds us how to live,

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”

Like the kid and the king crying, it is human nature to like our own perspectives, and we often stop there – looking within our own little world to ourselves. However, God invites us to dwell richly in the kingdom’s blessings, while living here on earth and to share these blessings with others. With our eyes wide open in God’s word we can see God, we see Christ in others, in the activities we are involved in and our wide-open eyes drink in the beauty of God’s love shown everywhere and in everything. It is easy to complain, be upset, but to find God even in the difficult moments, in tragedy, and what may seem to be the rough places of life – God challenges us to be problem solvers, sharers of God’s blessings, and to be resolved that God is at work even in the imperfections of life that exist in ourselves, our church, and our world.

We have many challenges in our congregation and personal lives, and again Martin Luther gives us perspective with his words of wisdom even from the 1500s,

“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is beingpurified.”

With eyes wide open, may we see God’s blessings all around us and with great joy be committed to give our thanks and praise to God each day in this New Year!