August 17, 2021

Aug 17, 2021
“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Luke 15:8

A couple of times this past Saturday I heard the term afterglow mentioned, in the context of, hoping we would experience one after Helmar Palooza was history. I am quite certain some of the people involved in the leadership, planning, and procurement feel like they have been living in afterburner for the past few weeks. What a day of rejoicing it was, is the sense I have gotten in talking with people so; I’m claiming afterglow.

It’s time for a confession, when the early planning began and the event was dubbed, “Palooza,” I must admit that it didn’t roll off my tongue easily and I’ve told some that. In my mind it was maybe a bit too attached to the world, especially when living within 65 miles of the event called, “Lollapalooza.”

Hopefully a short explanation will help you understand without making this an attempt to justify my resistance. I was born and raised in our Helmar Lutheran church. Started Sunday school as soon as there was a class for my age, recall with clarity sitting listening to Bible stories told as I watched the scenes displayed with something called flannel graph. For those of you who have no idea of what that means, ask anyone you believe might have lived in a day before TV. I know that’s difficult to imagine but, there was a time that was true.

Thinking back over my life I don’t know if there was a time from my earliest understanding when I didn’t believe every one of these stories in the Bible or; believe that the book was, in fact, God’s truth for me and this world. Here’s the problem, I know it’s going to be difficult for many to believe but, I have a bit of a strong will mixed with the occasional stuborn streak; Cheryl can verify and expand on detail if you have any doubt this is true.

At some point during my youth, I began to hear things I shouldn’t listen to and see things I shouldn’t look at and started that great adventure known as fence riding. Let me explain the rules for that game. When with my church friends I could be comfortable with and hopefully make them comfortable with being with me. When with my world friends I would do my best making sure they were comfortable with me, without making too many compromises to what I knew was right. At some point I began to lean too far to the world side of my life fence and fell off. I made compromises on things I absolutely knew were wrong and paid the price accordingly, similar to the, “Prodigal Son.” I will be happy to elaborate on the folly of the fence with any of you upon request but, I need to get back on point now. That being, I was rescued from that life by God’s mercy and have been walking away from it by His grace ever since; and something like a palooza seemed to rub too close to what I want to avoid.

Very early Saturday morning a memory popped to front of my grey matter, the story behind the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” According to what I’ve heard, when Martin Luther penned the lyric to the hymn, he either adapted them to or purposefully made them work with a very popular bar/saloon tune of the day. Now, I’m just guessing here but, don’t you suppose there were some anti palooza sentiments in the church of his day? When I thought about that story God used it to soften my heart and really enable me to enjoy what He had planned at a different level.

As I draw to a close now, I want to focus on the verse I began with and make an application if possible. My belief is that God has as a number one objective for us as a church body, that we are to be coin seekers. If there is anything that should keep us up at night, it should be that we are living in a literal world of lost coins. I saw a lot of familiar faces Saturday that I believe to be, “Found coins,” and this isn’t to question anyone’s sincerity. I also saw multitudes of faces that I had never seen before; some if judging like Samuel did when he was sent to find a replacement king, were lost and some were found. Here is what I know, when I was on the wrong side of the, “Fence,” and still thought I might be able to fool a few; I had some who were praying and loving me home with God’s love. If by chance, as a result of Saturday, there was even one, “Coin,” found; all the praying, planning, toil, and expense were worth it here and think of the joy in Heaven, Amen!

In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

In Him,