“REACHING UP TO SLAP GOD’S FACE”

(Pardon the slightly blasphemous metaphor —  truly  random, rambling Sunday talk today):

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Bozeman Trail

The whole quotation (in the title of this post)  is  spoken about a man who held himself apart from the group,  his opinions,  his rights,  a little more worthy than the others, he thought:  “Look at him,”  said Rusty Karnes under his breath, “if he could reach high enough, he’d try to  slap God’s face.” 

boseman trail

(We saw people like that in Charlottesville yesterday –  people who think they are so right that they can throw rocks,  fire, pepper spray and tear gas,  and foul liquids at those whom  they disagree with and want to silence.)  

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God does NOT change.    The world doesn’t change.   Right-and-Wrong doesn’t change.   Honor doesn’t change.   Men don’t change.    And Danger doesn’t change.

bozeman exposed

Exposed on the Bozeman Trail

We’re all mighty vulnerable in this world.    Even when we band together with a few friends and relatives,  we’re always a small band facing the forces of evil and random uncertainties that the world gives us.   It’s a humbling thought.

Bozeman single

We’re alone,  with only one guidebook and only one Church —  a thought for those who don’t intend to “slap God in the face.”

Along the Bozeman Trail you had to deal with snowstorms,  thunderstorms,  lack of shelter or water, Indian attacks, accidents with your horse or wagon wheels,   assorted outlaws and thieves waiting for their chance at you,  and the possibility of losing your way and making the wrong decisions.

I’ve crossed the Bozeman Trail several times – in my car – and I plan to do it again this month.  I’ve dealt with snowstorms,  black ice,   concern about thieves or muggers (as a woman traveling alone),   strong summer winds blowing such hot air that you feel you’re being sucked dry just trying to put gas in your tank;  and I’ve made some bad decisions about which way to go – that turned out all right.    No problem with the Sioux or Pawnee, though.

B protection

Modern times,  about a century later,  there are still perils in our world, and especially now in these times we must think clearly about our “traveling” companions in life.    That is,  who and what values and what attitudes will accompany you?

You must choose your companions wisely.   You want to be sure that the ones who are with you are true and honest and have the ability to protect you.

Bozeman Wagon box

You don’t want your “traveling companions”  to be those who are so sure of themselves that they can’t see any other point of view and cannot allow anyone to think differently;  leastwise you.    You have a right to think things through in your own way.

 

Micah 6:8  —  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.        And what does the Lord require of you?    To act justly and to love mercy   and to walk humbly  with your God.

One way of looking at it,  there are still only two postures:    (1)    “walk humbly with your God” – or “before your God,” as some versions put it,  knowing that you don’t know everything on this journey through life but you’re on a journey to meet Him and He’s given you a Guide.   Or   (2),  try to reach up to God and tell Him you’ll do it your own way,  the “slap in the face.”

A book and a little story:

Here’s the book I’m reading –   plain, clear  thinking  in it . . .

Bitterrot Book

I might not go all the way to the Bitterroots this month,  way up north in Montana,  but I’ll remember the things I’ve learned from this book.

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Here’s the story I love to tell – and you don’t have to read through it,  I just really like to think about it:

The word “faith” is important to a lot of Christians, and the Bible tells us that the Pillar and the Foundation of our faith is the Church   (not the Bible).      Took me a while,  but I studied that Church and  understood enough to know that that’s where I belonged.

So one day,   a particular holiday that we all must recognize,  I went to church,  went to Mass, along with many hundreds of others in that church building.   Standing room only by the time I got there!   That meant kneeling on the hard stone floor for quite a while.

The crowd had pushed me, elbow to elbow, next to a man whom I recognized as the governor of our state!     There he was, kneeling on the stone floor,  next to me.   Except for a nod of recognition,  I didn’t speak,  and neither did he,  because we were both silently kneeling at that time to  the Lord Jesus,  the Son of God, Who  was present on the  altar, way far away in front of the church.

kneeling

That’s it.     That’s the story.    I disagreed with that governor on a few things,  but we seemed to be both on that same  “trail” in life,  humbling ourselves before our actual, present God.

Neither of us, nor anyone in the church that day,  appeared to be telling  God that we’ll do it our own way,  reaching  up to His face and . .  .  you know.

Our souls are safer that way.

 

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