West Union United Methodist Church
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner



  Consider This… From Chris

“Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?”  This is a question my sister would ask of me under two different circumstances: one, if I had done something uncharacteristically stupid; two, if I had said something uncharacteristically wise.  I’m pretty sure both of those possibilities are rare, but they happen.           

Perhaps you have heard or spoken that, “Who are you and what have you done with…?” question, usually in the context of someone acting in some way that seems not normal.  It’s a question that invites us to reflect on either our own behavior, or on our expectations of someone else.

I hear the Psalmists ask it when they say, “Will you be angry with us forever?  You helped us and saved us in the past, but who are you now?”  I hear God asking that question through the prophets when God says, “You’re just going through the motions with your rituals and sacrifices, but your heart is not with me and you are treating each other horribly.  Who are you and what have you done with my people?”

 The question is most often a tongue-in-cheek thing, noting our surprise at something said or done by someone we thought we knew well.  But underneath is an underlying issue of understanding one another.  The hardest thing to do in any relationship is account for the way we change, or to account for depths of personality, knowledge or character not yet explored.

 This even extends to our relationship with the Bible.  Most of us have a cursory knowledge of this great collection of writings, but we like to think we know what’s in it.  I cannot count the number of times I have learned something new about who wrote what and when, or of how certain parts have been translated (or at times mistranslated) into my native language, or delved into parts I had previously skimmed over, and I have been shocked into “Who are you and what have you done with my Bible?” 

 It’s a book that is so easy to misuse and abuse.  It has been used to justify slavery, and to oppose slavery; to justify war and cry out for peace; to justify exclusion of women and others in certain roles and even justify abuse, and to exemplify their full participation and a call to right and loving treatment of all people.

 We will never get to a point where we know everything about the people around us, but I invite us to continue to try.  We will never get to a point where we completely understand the Bible, but I invite us to continue to work at it, knowing that God, who we also do not completely understand, is still speaking to us through this great text.