A place to leave behind the past, to have the
fullness of the present,
and to look forward to the bright future.
Pastor's Monthly Message
Some years ago, a very well-know American clergyman toured Russia in an effort to obtain first hand knowledge of the church situation at that time. He visited as many churches as possible and on one occasion was asked to speak to a small congregation about the church situation in America. He recited a list of statistics on church membership, attendance, church financing and religious programs on TV and radio. Satisfied with his presentation on the church in America, he prepared to leave. On his way out, a young Russian woman approached him, and in total sincerity, she said through an Interpreter, “Your talk about all this church activity in America is very impressive, but what difference does all that activity make to the people?”
As many know, John 3:16 reads as follows: “Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” In that single verse, the Apostle John says it all! The God that created you loves you and is offering you a share of his Divine Life of Love. That‟s why you and I were born! That‟s your life‟s meaning and purpose and that‟s why we‟re here. And yet we ask ourselves, “What difference does it all make?”
What difference does it make if we measure the state of the church in terms of quantity (How many members?) instead of quality (How does it affect us, how does it affect our way of life? How does it affect our day-to-day activity?)
We are being constantly bombarded with messages telling us how to be happy? Advertisements tell us, “Drink our beer” or “Buy our cars” - life doesn't get better than that.” But whether it's beer, cars, clothes, houses, vacations, retirement planning, cosmetic surgery or even hair replacement, not one of them, nor all of them, is the key to genuine happiness, which can only come in the form of spiritual contentment, peace of mind and heart and soul.
Nicodemus was an official in the Jewish religious institution who had recognized something of the Divine in Jesus. He had come to Jesus looking for some answers about life. Jesus told Nicodemus that in order for him to enter into God‟s Kingdom and live under God‟s Rule, he must be born anew, born in the Spirit. We read that Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son…For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved.
“Happy the nation who‟s God is money,‟ say the pundits of our time. “Happy the nation who‟s God is Yahweh,” sang the ancient psalmist. Who are we going to listen to, the contemporary pundits or the ancient psalmist? “Happy the person who says „I did it my way‟,” sing the entertainers of our times. Happy are the poor in spirit who say, “I‟ll do it God‟s way.” Who are we going to believe? “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die,” say the secularists of our time. “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that we may have eternal life.” Who are we going to believe, the secularists or the Apostle John?
What is the purpose of our lives? What do we want from life? What are we dreaming of? What are we searching for? Do we regard our daily lives as a means to an end or merely a means to more means?
All the while we are in a hurried state of dissatisfaction running from one inspirational book to the next to try to feel good. Moving from one guru to the next in our search for the secret of life. Constantly hoping that the meaning of life will be found on the other side of the hill, thinking the grass will be greener there.
We all want answers but we don‟t need to look for them in the next fashionable book or the latest self proclaimed guru on television. The answers are here! The answers are on the mountain top of our worship events in which we experience the very presence of the Lord Jesus. The answers are in the prayer life in which we make our selves open to God‟s life and direction. And that makes all the difference!
Jesus is in our midst now, telling us that if we want to experience genuine happiness, if we want to experience the best of all human glimpses into eternal life with God and what that means, if we want to begin to experience it now, then we must love God and truth. We must love one another as He loves us. Of course, we must also act in truth to give witness to the one true Light of the world, which alone can give us the peace we seek – the peace we desperately need.
In His Light,
Bishop Raymond Contois