Pastor Paul's Ponderings
Pastor Paul reflects on issues of today and how teachings of the Bible can help us on our path.
February 1, 2023
I can’t help myself. I am a natural storyteller. I believe that all of us have stories that we tell. I noticed how Danica and I team up to tell the story of having a baby, Sarah, while we lived in Iowa in our old age—and the effects of ‘colic’ on us. We don’t rehearse that story, it just kinda flows out naturally.
When I ‘preach’ a sermon, I try to use examples from my life experience to give the sermon some relevance and meaning for the hearers’ lives. Invariably, I will tell a story about an episode or time in my life when Danica was present too. Afterward, on occasion, Danica (my wife) will tell me: “what on earth were you talking about? I don’t remember it that way at all!”
We all remember things differently and emphasize different things, different parts of the story, that are more relevant to us. I suspect the authors of the Bible did the same thing because while they were divinely inspired they were also human.
In a recent Bible study, we compared the gospel stories of the calling of Peter. The stories do not mesh. At all. I suppose the author's wives were likely saying the same thing my wife does: “what on earth are you talking about?” How important is it that we know exactly how Peter was called to be a disciple of Jesus, and how important is it that the stories of that call fit perfectly together?
We need to remember that Jesus' early disciples and followers expected Jesus to come back at any moment—certainly in their lifetimes—and therefore little was recorded as no one thought it would need to be written down—until eyewitnesses started getting older and dying, and Jesus still hadn’t returned. Most of the manuscripts of the Gospels were from 30 years or more after the death of Jesus.
We also need to remember that we all have different vantage points and view things differently. If one watches a game from the end zone what one sees is likely to be different than what someone sees watching the same game from the 50, even though both are watching the same game.
Regardless, from the gospels, we can ascertain a few things that they all agree on. For example, Peter was a fisherman before following Jesus. He suddenly left that profession to follow Jesus. And most importantly of all in all the gospels, Jesus emphasizes love, even commanding us to love one another. These are the important things we need to glean from scripture.
I know of some folk who get very upset because someone challenges their view of scripture and the bible. They see the Bible as perfect—in errant. Without error. I agree with that, what scripture tells us is without error—that we should love God and one another. While it is interesting, what exactly Peter was doing the moment he was called to follow Jesus really is not that important. What is important and all the gospels agree on is that he left his old life, everything, immediately to follow Jesus. And all the gospels agree that we are commanded to love God and love one another.
Grace and Peace and Merry Christmas,