Mac McRaven

Pastor Mac McRaven, minister of Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church, Rapidan. 

To those who loudly lament our weeks of quarantine and shutdown, we Christians say this is another of God’s tests for us, as David wrote in the Psalm. And He will bring us through it, just as He has through every pestilence, famine, war, natural disaster and what appeared to be hopeless situations. God created us, He loves us, and He acts in our best interests. Always. But it isn’t enough for us to say simply that we believe: He has “tried us as silver is tried” and we are in the process of being proven. Which means that yes, we must go through setbacks in this life, we must endure, we must be steadfast in the face of even severe difficulties.  Nowhere has He told us this earthly life will be easy. But He “has kept us among the living,” and for that we can be most thankful.  He never gives us more than we can handle.

Paul points out to the Greeks that their worship of imaginary gods, each supposedly in charge of aspects of the people’s lives: love, war, thunder, even blacksmithing (Haphaestus) misses the basic concept of humanity’s Creator. These people built shrines and temples in their deities’ honor, but these supposed inhabitants of Mount Olympus were more like folk figures, fantasy idols. The Athenians were educated, and some of the world’s greatest philosophers from there gifted the world with their insights. That they recognized the necessity of a creator, whom Aristotle termed the Prime Mover, most probably was evidenced in that tribute to the “unknown god.” The pagan Zeus did not create the heavens and the earth, nor did Aphrodite, or Hermes, or any of the others of their pantheon of man-imagined gods. Paul credits the Greeks with being religious, but explains that only a single, all-knowing, all-powerful God could have created the universe and all that is in it, and that we, as human beings, owe Him our worship and the necessity to keep His commandments. And that He does not need anything, nor does He dwell in manmade structures. In Isaiah 66: 1-2: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord.’”

God's chosen people recognized that He is a spirit, the supreme spirit, not a false god who brought good crops or rain or withheld them on a whim, or who had human characteristics of jealously, envy, anger, earthly desires.  That is likely the reason He chose them, the Hebrews, as His core followers. We Christians have inherited that place in God’s holy family, as His children. And history has shown us how He has cherished us, blessed us, given us His love. We must focus on that love, not on the difficulties we encounter in this life.

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