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Pastors' Blog: An Evasive Lure ...

If you were a part of our "Internship Process Progress Potluck" February 25, or if you read our summary of that event in last week's Northern Highlights, you may have noticed that several groups said they looked forward to "new, fresh or alternative" perspectives a new pastor might bring. Really?!

You shouldn't encourage me. I can do alternative perspectives!

Here's what happened.

Our Old Testament Lesson for Sunday, March 10, 2024, is Numbers 21:4-19. In this story Israel, doing their 40 years in the wilderness after the Exodus, is complaining to God about, I don't know, everything. Anyway, God gets tired of it and sends snakes into the desert which bite people and they die. (Complainers beware!!)  So, the people apologize for their whining and ask God to take the snakes away. That doesn't  happen (sigh) but God does tell Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a stake. Then, if people get bitten they can look at the bronze serpent and they won't die. 

Now remember, Pr. Tom and I are playing "Where is Waldo" and seeking a common theme between our Old Testament and New Testament readings.  This week should be totally easy, because . . . 

. . . because our Gospel Lesson is John 3:14-21, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him ..."

What I discovered in my study and preparation for this week's sermon is that it's not so much the bronze serpent which is important here, or even Jesus - it is the act of ​"lifting up" ​​that our Gospel Lesson focuses on. 

​"Lifting up"​​ makes something visible. It draws your attention. You may want to see what is lifted up - as in the case of the bronze serpent because you've just been bitten - or you may not want to see what has been lifted up - in the case of Jesus if you had hoped he would be the Messiah and win victory over the Romans. But what does ​God​ want you to see in the lifting up? That's the question!

The "alternative perspective" I'll offer you on ​"lifting up"​​ will come from a woman named Mary Philips. She's an East Indian Lutheran theologian who wrote an article called ​"The Elusive Lure of the Lotus." ​It opened my eyes. I trust it will yours, too!

See you Sunday,

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke 

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