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Christ provides us with a purpose and a future
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Rev. John Bressler

As a pastor, not only do I struggle with scripture but also with theology, history, religion, therapy, dinosaurs and sociology. The fact is that while the world has been impacted and changed by scripture, the world has absolutely changed scripture. We seem to have lost the original purpose of scripture. The Bible was written to explain the existence of all we experience.

"In the beginning ... God."

One rabbi, whom I called a friend and very capable theologian, told me that just those first four words were a lifetime of sermons. For him, the contents of the Hebrew Bible were given in one Hebrew word, Tanakh. That is an acronym made from the first letter of the three divisions: Torah (law), Nev'im (prophets) and Ketuvi'im (writings). "That's everything I need to live my life!"

For Christians, we accept the Hebrew Bible, which we call the Old Testament, and the New Testament, which teaches us the birth, life, death, resurrection and purpose of Jesus Christ. That's everything we need to live our lives!"

Not so in today's world.

Sociologists teach us that we now live in the post-industrial society, or what we common folk refer to as the user or consumer era. Allow me to call it the insatiable era or "I want it, must have it, can't live without it and when I get it will be satisfied."

It seems that most of our present day population — supported by very clever and compelling advertising — does not create or produce, but rather buys a lot of useless and disposable stuff and when it wears out or loses its charm is tossed out and replaced ... by more useless and disposable stuff. Example: I work to make enough money to buy what I want, which hopefully will make me feel tingly all over. I don't like work, but the job pays well enough for the time being. I won't get married since I live at home with my parents, so my money goes a lot further. I have maxed out my credit cards. No big deal, as I can find other companies who will allow me to transfer all my debts into one and reduce my payments. Pretty smart!"

Isn't there something wrong with this thinking or am I missing a few marbles due to my old age? That's my general way of thinking.

When I was at Marshall U, the Harvard of West Virginia, my professors always told me, "Bressler, generally, your work is interesting, different, unusual and even unique." I never knew exactly what they meant, but shucks, no one is more general than me. I digress.

What happens to people who believe they live to use and not to create? Do they become disposable? What happens when we finally get what we believed would make our world perfect and doesn't? Hey! Change the laws, elect the other candidate, make a new treaty, eliminate the competition, ban the books, close the borders, raise the minimum wage, create a credit card with a 20% cash back policy. You may write your own list of what will make you as happy as a cat in a pile of catnip. There is hope, because there is the great exception!

While many can only see randomness, lack of common purpose, decay of social institutions and unfulfilled expectations, the risen Christ creates purpose, future and God's children who are filled with unlimited spiritual energy and just can't wait to change chaos into cosmos and disorder into order. What Jesus makes possible cannot be bought, never wears out, can't be replaced and is perfect!

God's gift is eternal! Thanks God!

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