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Rev. John Bressler - Searching for the 'voice of God' that carries all of us
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John Bressler

It's hard to remember exact dates and times, but it is never too difficult to recall a moment or an occasion when something happened that caused a memory never to be forgotten. I hope that makes sense.

I was in junior high school, a lower middle school in the olden days that went from grade seven to grade nine. 

I happened to attend a Sunday morning service at an unfamiliar church. I was looking for some answers that morning. I wanted some words that would give me direction, meaning, reasoning, all the comfort a young boy could hope for. I suppose that is pretty naive thinking, but how smart are 13-year-old kids anyway? The problem was that I didn't know exactly what the difficulty was or even how to put it into words. 

I knew this: I wanted to feel that God heard and He understood. Boy, was I disappointed!

On that particular morning, the preacher decided he would educate the congregation on how intelligent he just happened to be, or this is what I thought he was doing. He used words like justification, sanctification, Parousia, supralapsarianism and antidisestablishmentarianism, I think, and the longer he spoke, the angrier I got. I looked around and noticed that many of the flock were laughing and no one seemed to be puzzled at these multi-syllabic words. I was flat out embarrassed that I was so dumb. I left feeling left out.

I did learn something that morning: if God ever called me to preach, I would never use words like those unless I gave definitions or could substitute other words that my congregation could understand. I am not implying that congregations aren't intelligent, but I told myself that I would never use words that might interrupt God's good news. Forgive me if I am not being clear, but I see the face of a child on every member out there in the pews and I feel the questions I had so many years ago.

I truly believe that every individual who comes to church is seeking a God who knows us, what we are, accepts us completely and still embraces us, forgives us and gives us answers. Oh, yes!

His words to us are so gentle and so kind and so understanding that we can hear His love above all else. We can then leave that church filled with such love that we can believe and know we can survive whatever life brings.

It is the still small voice of God that carries us along the path to life eternal.

Thanks, God!

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