Yes, indeed, all that God has created is very good. I make no such promises regarding this fun little reminder of all that God created. I hope you enjoy!
"God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (Genesis 1:31)
Yes, indeed, all that God has created is very good. I make no such promises regarding this fun little reminder of all that God created. I hope you enjoy!
Simply click on the Puzzle link and/or Solution link to download and print pdf files. Adobe Reader required.
Puzzle and solution © 2014, Sandi Pontious. All rights reserved. For permission to reuse, email LetsTalkLutheran.com
“God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:4-5)
Moses is tending his father-in-law’s flock. They have wandered out of the wilderness and stood on Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai) where an angel of the Lord appeared in a blaze of fire. The bush in which the angel appeared seemed to be burning, but it was not being consumed by the fire. Out of the flames comes the voice of God calling to Moses. God then orders Moses to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground.
So what exactly is holy ground? Is it a real place? A piece of real estate? The sanctuary of a church? No. Holy ground is where we experience God face-to-face. It is a spiritual place where our entire being is engulfed in the glory and majesty of God. In this place, nothing else matters except the nearness of God. This is where Moses found himself that day. Think about it. A flaming bush that is not being burned. A voice calling his name and telling him that he is standing on holy ground. No doubt this was an awe-inspiring, yet frightening experience.
The Lord had revealed himself in a powerful way to an otherwise ordinary person. For Moses, God’s next words would transform him and his destiny completely: “Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:7-12, NRSV)
Moses had now received his call from God. He now understood God’s plan for his life (to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt), but he was frightened and did his best to get out of it. What if they don’t believe what I tell them? I have a speech impediment. They won’t listen to me. Yet with every excuse, God promises Moses to be with him and provide Moses with the tools he needs to accomplish the mission set before him.
What does this have to do with us and holy ground? God calls us, equips us, and stands beside us. Through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are made holy – blameless in the sight of God. This is what makes us holy. If we are holy, then wherever we stand is holy ground. Like Moses, God calls us by name, and bestows the gifts of the Holy Spirit on us so that we can accomplish the mission set before us -- namely, using our lives to bring him glory and show others the path to the “burning bush” so that they too can stand on holy ground.
In meditating on God’s Word, reflecting on the sacrifice of Christ, and living out our faith in tangible ways we are find ourselves on holy ground – where believers stand.
God of Moses, God of our hearts, grant that we remain in awe of your power to take the ordinary and transform it to the extraordinary. Grant us strength to seize on the opportunities to proclaim our redemption and your love and forgiveness to those around us, so that you who began a good work in them, may bring them to holy ground. Amen
In awe of being blessed to stand on holy ground,
"This recording of Holy Ground is from the Geron Davis / Integrity Hosanna project titled Holy Ground recorded live in Alexandria, LA with the Alexandria Sanctuary Choir. Tim Pedigo is the soloist on the verse & Geron Davis is the worship leader on the rest of the song." (Geron Davis, in comments section of the You Tube video above).
Artwork of Moses removing his sandals used under Creative Commons.
The first task of the Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension 40 days after the Resurrection was to replace Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed our Lord. The 11 Apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers, and some women were gathered in Jerusalem. “Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Acts 1:15-17) In speaking these words, Peter laid the framework for the selection of a replacement for Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus. Peter also proclaims that Judas fulfilled his part of the ministry. Yes, that’s right, Peter declared that the actions of Judas Iscariot fulfilled ancient prophecy. We will go into that in a future post, but for now, suffice it to say that Judas’ death meant that someone needed to take his place in the grand scheme of God’s plan.
The disciple chosen must meet specific criteria: “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:21-26) By the “luck of the draw” Matthias became one of the Twelve, sent out into the world to proclaim the Good News.
Not much is known about Matthias or about his ministry. The same can be said of most of the other Apostles except maybe Peter, James, John and of course Paul, even though he was not one of the Twelve. What we do know is that during their lifetimes, the Apostles including the latecomer Matthias played an important role in spreading the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. [Jesus said to them] “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30, NRSV) They also play an important role in God’s Holy City as described in the Revelation of John: “And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:10-14, NRSV)
There are so many questions to be asked when we think about Matthias. Did God have a hand in his choosing? Was he selected by chance? Did he feel honored or like he was second best? He did feel that he was up to the task? From Scripture, we cannot know. What we do know is that he was a disciple of Jesus commissioned to go out into the world to bring the message of the Good News – just as those of us modern-day disciples are called to be apostles. We sit at the feet of Jesus our Lord (like Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus), learn from him, and are called to be apostles, even if the world never remembers our name or exactly what we did to further the Kingdom of God. Like Matthias we are one apostle, example to all.
Praying that God strengthens me to be an example to all,
Icon of Matthias. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Note: The Feast Day of St. Matthias is May 14.
“O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 71:17, NRSV)
Well, it’s getting to be that time of year again. Yes, that’s right – it’s graduation time! Pre-schoolers will graduate to kindergarten. Elementary students will begin the “terror-filled” years of middle school. Middle Schoolers will become High Schoolers. High School seniors will become college freshmen. College students will graduate. I am feeling a little old as I watch babies I’ve known since birth now entering the next stages of their lives. It always amazes me how fast kids grow from the innocent child with upturned faces listening to every word spoken to them to the teenager who consistently looks at their shoes or rolls their eyes when spoken to, then morph into incredible young adults. It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye.
Yet no matter what stage they are in, these kids reflect the values they have been taught by their parents and church family. They epitomize the words of St. Paul in his first letter to his student, Timothy: “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, NRSV) They set for us older folks an example of what it means to be Christian. They question. They search for authenticity. They hold us accountable for living out the life we have taught them to live. Now, I’m not saying they are perfect because none of us on own is able to achieve such lofty heights. I am saying that because they are the Baptized children of our heavenly Father, adopted by him to be brother to Jesus Christ our Lord, they will always have their Christian family to help and guide them, even as they help and guide us – the older generation.
Every now and then I am asked to put together a slide show presentation for the High School Senior Graduation dinner celebration. I have had the privilege of watching most of these kids “grow up” in the church. From fresh faced babies to freckle-faced tweens, I have seen them grow physically and mentally, but most importantly spiritually. A few of this year’s High School Seniors are the kids of some of my best friends so it is a bittersweet time. My friends are about to set their “babies” free into the world of adulthood – something I can relate to since I’ve had to do it twice! No longer will they be able to protect and shield their kids from all of life’s bumps, hills, and deep valleys. Many of these young adults will be leaving to attend college far from home. Others will attend schools closer to home. In either case, the rhythms of their lives, and the lives of their parents will be forever altered. But one thing will remain: Jesus promises to walk beside them (student and parent) through whatever life may bring.
There will undoubtedly be highs and lows, tears and joy, temptations and God-honoring opportunities, but because they have their faith to fall back on, nothing, I mean nothing, will ever sever the bond between us, them, and our God. “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
As I think about the wonderful young adults about to be set free into the world, I am remind of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Fingerprints of God.” The lyrics go something like this:
Just look at you. You’re a wonder in the making.
Oh and God’s not through, no — in fact he’s just getting started.
And I can see the fingerprints of God— when I look at you.
I can see the fingerprints of God — and I know it’s true.
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds.
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God. (1)
Lord, we pray that those who are graduating from one stage of life to the next never forget that they are covered with your fingerprints – the hands that created them will hold them through whatever life brings. Grant their parents the peace to let their children soar and become all that you have created them to be. In the Name of Your Son, whom you sent to earth to save us all from sin and death, we pray. Amen
Marveling at the Fingerprints of God,
(1) Chapman, Steven Curtis. Fingerprints of God. Speechless. [Digital Recording] EMI Digital, 1999. Click here to listen to entire song.
Graphic licensed under Creative Commons with frame added.
A Reflection on Holy Communion
by Jeff Pontious, special contributor
In the last month or so, following the Church calendar like we do, I have been thinking a lot about communion. From the Thursday night in the upper room, to the road to Emmaus, the gospel writers put a big emphasis on the breaking of the bread at the table.
So, I reached back into the deep recesses of my fading memory, and thought back to my confirmation days, where it turns out that it is actually apparently possible to retain pieces of information (Thanks pastors Egertson, Christiansen, and Koenig!). As I think back to my Lutheran learnin’, my recollection was that when it came to explaining how Lutherans were different from other Christians, it usually went something like this: “Well, the Catholics are over there, and most of the rest of the Protestants are over there, but we are sort of in between right here.” Kind of the Goldilocks position if you will.
And so it was when it comes to communion (one of the many names of this meal, but we will get to that later). As explained by the patient Pastors to the squirrelly Jr Highers (an ancient term for middle schoolers), our teaching was that the Catholics believed the bread and wine turned into the body and blood of Christ, and a lot of other Protestants just said it was bread and wine to do in remembrance. But, the Lutherans held neither of those positions, or perhaps both, when we said the meal is both bread and wine along with the body and blood of Christ really present in these otherwise foody elements. At the same time! Analogies for mystical theological concepts always break down, but to me, it’s sort of like Shimmer from super old Saturday Night Live: https://screen.yahoo.com/shimmer-floor-wax-000000185.html.
Now that I am more of a grown up, for more edification, I then went to what we call “Our source and norm for faith” – Wikipedia. Mostly what I then discovered is a lot of vocabulary words. First is the various names ascribed to communion: Communion, The Lord’s table, Eucharist, Leg Stretching time after a long sermon, etc.
Then, the terminology gets real serious when trying to describe the way people understand what is going on: ”Transubstantiation”, “Consubstantiation”, and the one term we Lutherans landed on: “Sacramental Union”. Putting English words to describe concepts that are by nature mysterious can’t really do the Sacrament justice, and I think high falutin’ theologians tend to really split hairs in the way they go about describing what is going on. They get into a lot of semantics that most normal pew sitting folks can’t always make heads or tails of.
But here’s what I am pretty sure of: Jesus is in there. It’s weird. It’s mysterious. It is hard to describe. But you see in the Gospels, especially during and after the Passion, and then in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, that this IS important. It’s more than just a meal. The scriptures are pretty explicit. So, sorry all you folks who do it once a quarter, and especially sorry for those who use only grape juice. It’s bread and wine, AND Jesus Christ himself. Real presence is what we call it. It’s the best part of every Sunday. Even better than sleeping in.
In my humble opinion (with a few laughs thrown in),
Image licensed under Creative Commons.
This past weekend, I was talking to my mom about how music seems to soothe our souls. There is something about music that seeps in and washes over us, calming, relaxing, and refocusing our energy. I grew up listening to music from all ages. Classical to early pop and rock – everything from the 1950s to the 1980s – Chopin to the Cars. In the 1990s, my taste turned to Contemporary Christian and remains what I listen to the most. Confession time here – I absolutely loved the Bay City Rollers when I was a kid and ABBA remains my favorite pop group of all time! ABBA is my “go to” when life gets crazy. Music was and remains a big part of my life.
Music seems to be part of my DNA. My grandmother was a locally renowned concert pianist. My son plays guitar, bass and drums. My daughter has a beautiful voice. I got neither musical talent, nor a great singing voice, but I grew up listening to my mom playing the piano, trying to meticulously work her way through classical pieces. My favorite was and remains the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Recently, my mom had a reel to reel recording of my grandmother’s rendition transferred to CD. She sent me a copy and in no time it has become one of my most prized possessions.
Listening to the Moonlight Sonata still brings me to a place of peace as I can hear the sound of the rolling waves, picture the moonlight washing over the water, but now it also transports me to a place where I think about God’s creation. How everything that is beautiful in this world to me - music, the sound of the ocean, flowers, trees, butterflies, mountains, my husband, my children, my sisters, my mom, my dad (who now rests in the arms of Our Father in heaven), my mother and father-in-law (also resting in Jesus’ arms), my extended family and in-laws, my friends, and my church family – are all created gifts of God, brought into my life to enrich and bless God’s world.
I am grateful that God has claimed me for his own and given me talents and abilities that bring him glory. Although I have not been blessed with the ability to play an instrument or sing on key, I can (and do) raise my voice in praise to the Lord who has blessed me so richly. My singing may not be considered beautiful by those who sit near me during worship or hear me singing along to contemporary Christian music in my car, but I sing God’s praises with a heart bursting with joy and awe of my Lord. And for me, who has a deep abiding love for my Savior and music, I promise you that those notes I try desperately to reach are joyful! I am thankful for the love of Jesus and will worship him with a glad heart, even if the words of my mouth may not always be pleasing to human ears. To my God whose love endures forever, it is a “joyful noise.”
I guess my point in all this is that music is a gift from God and that this gift, along with all his other gifts to us, are to be used to bring him glory. I think that’s one of the reasons the Psalmist exhorts us to “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100, NRSV)
Father in heaven, creator of all, we praise you that you have claimed us as your flock. We thank you for the abundance of blessings you shower upon us. Your love that endures forever is a priceless treasure and we enter into your presence with songs of thanksgiving. Grant that we may never forget to remain faithful to you, who is always faithful to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Joyfully singing unto the Lord,
Picture frame used under Creative Commons. Text added by author.
Listen to a rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 1st movement here.
Just for a little Mother’s Day fun, I've put together a little quiz on ten amazing moms in the Bible. See how many you can answer without looking up the Bible passage. Download answers here.
For every question you get correct, you will receive 10,000 points towards entrance into heaven. Please remember, though, that points don’t count. Your belief in the salvation of the cross through Jesus’ sacrifice has already provided your ticket to enter into the pearly gates!
Ready? Set? Go!
1. She fulfilled her vow to God and took her son to the temple and placed him in the care of the priest Eli. (1 Samuel 1:10-11)
2. She was the mother of us all. (Genesis 3:20)
3. She asked her son to turn water into wine. (John 2:3-5)
4. An Egyptian slave, she was the mother of Ishmael. (Genesis 16:9)
5. At the ripe of age of 90 she gave birth to her first son. (Genesis 21:2-4)
6. She was the mother of twins, Esau and Jacob. (Genesis 25:19-34)
7. Wife of Boaz, she was the mother of Obed and great-grandmother of King David. (Ruth 1:16)
8. The wife of Jacob, she was the mother of two of Jacob’s twelve sons, Joseph and Benjamin. (Genesis 30:22-23)
9. The child in her womb leapt when Mary came to visit. (Luke 1:39-45)
10. The mother of Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24)
Don’t forget to call your mom!
Graphic by LaVista Church of God. Licensed under Creative Commons Non-commercial 3.0
Known as Luther’s Rose, the most widely recognized symbol of Lutheranism is Martin Luther’s Seal – a pictorial representation of his faith and theological understanding. As the popularity of his writings increased, the seal was employed as an authentication mark for his writings. Luther’s full color seal was a rarity at the time since the printers would have to color the image by hand after using a wood cut to create a black and white stamp on the page.
As a thank you to Luther for dedicating his translation of the Book of Daniel to him, Prince John Frederick, patron and ardent supporter of Luther, presented him with a signet ring that bore this seal. It was common practice for people of note to possess such a ring. The gift was delivered personally by Prince Frederick to Luther on Holy Cross Day, September 14 at the Castle of Koburg.
I look at the symbol and think, “love blooms when a heart is centered on Christ”; however, the ring maker asked Luther if the colors were correct. Luther replied in the letter that follows:
“Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend!
Grace and Peace in Christ!
Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which now come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology. There is first to be a cross, black, and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color (red), to put me in mind that faith in Christ crucified saved us. For if one believes from the heart, he will be justified. ["For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." --Romans 10:10] Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature...that is, the cross does not kill, but keeps man alive. For the just shall live by faith, by faith in the Savior. ["This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'" --Romans 1:17]
Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In a word, it places the believer into a white joyful rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives. ["I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." --John 14:27] Therefore, the rose is to be white, not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all angels. ["..an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightening, and his clothing was as white as snow." --Matthew 28:2b-3 and "She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying." --John 20:12]
This rose, moreover, is fixed in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy. It is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest.
And around this field is a golden ring, to signify that such bliss in heaven is endless, and more precious than all joys and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.
May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come. Amen."
Graphic and Luther’s letter in the public domain.
“You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you. Why does the way of the guilty prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and bring forth fruit; you are near in their mouths yet far from their hearts.” (Jeremiah 12:1-2, NRSV)
The Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible translates this passage as: “Whenever I complain to you, Lord, you are always fair. But now I have questions about your justice. Why is life easy for sinners? Why are they successful? You plant them like trees; you let them prosper and produce fruit. Yet even when they praise you, they don’t mean it.” (Jeremiah 12:1-2, CEV)
Does it ever seem to you that “cheaters” do seem to prosper? That life isn’t fair? You follow the rules, obey God, go to church, love your family, go out of your way to be friendly, work hard, take time to rest, care for and serve others… you know, do all the right things. You are a good Christian person. But when you look around you see “the treacherous” and “the sinners” seem to have everything going for them. They have a nicer car, bigger house, more friends, expensive clothing and jewelry, dine at only the best restaurants, and have more money and toys than anybody else. You just want to scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!”
Well, Jeremiah understood that same sentiment. Jeremiah found himself in a world fraught with war. The leaders and prominent citizens had been sent into exile by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. This king had systematically destroyed many of the Israelite’s traditions. Jeremiah’s words convey his belief that the trouble the people were in was the direct result of God’s divine retribution because of their unfaithfulness to God. The words he prophesied caused some to consider him a heretic, others to declare him insane, his own family to stay away from him, and the religious authorities to call for his death. Jeremiah found himself a veritable outcast, but he remained steadfast in his mission to call the people to repentance. He firmly believed that only God’s judgment could reveal his promise to save them. For Christians, this word of promise for our salvation provides us an understanding of why it sometimes seems that cheaters, in fact, do not prosper.
Our core values center on the saving action of Christ on the Cross. His suffering and death provide the path to eternal life. We are not promised an easy life in this world, but one day our trials and tribulations will end and we will find ourselves in the loving arms of God for all eternity. We also understand God to be both just and merciful. God’s blessings do fall on the good and the not so good: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45, NRSV) The blessings poured out on the evil are not a sign of God’s favor nor are they an endorsement of their actions, rather they represent God’s mercy. The Holy Spirit will stir up faith in the wicked as it chooses and perhaps evildoers will come to know the truth of God’s grace, renounce their wrong minded actions, and return to the Lord.
“It all turns on the difference in time and eternity. When the two are compared, an entire earthly life is less than a fraction of a second compared to a billion years. To win the great prize of Eternal Glory with Christ is more than worth bearing the burdens of whatever disasters our earth-life is capable of bringing upon us. No recipient of such a blessing should be troubled by whatever pleasures and prosperities may be enjoyed by the wicked for the brief season of earthly life.” 
So you see, in the end and for all eternity, cheaters never prosper!
Father, grant us peace in your promise of the eternal blessings obtained by those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior. Amen
Basking in the Sonshine!
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 12:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". "http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/view.cgi?book=jer&chapter=012". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. Accessed May 6, 2014.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3-5, NRSV)
Casting Crowns, a Christian rock band, recorded “Who Am I” in 2004. (I still think of this as a “new” song, even though it’s already a decade old!) Written by Mark Hall, the song opens with powerful questions: “Who am I that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, care to feel my hurt? Who am I that the Bright and Morning Star would choose to light the way of my ever-wandering heart?” Ponder those questions for a few moments. Have you ever thought “why does God love me? Does he really care what happens to me? Why should he even notice me?” I know I have. It’s human nature. “Who am I?” drives us to the Bible and the Scriptures provide solid answers to the question.
God created you. “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness’.” (Genesis 1:26, NRSV) He designed you. He gave you life. From the dust, he breathed “into your nostrils” and you became a living being. You are made in HIS image! The Psalmist writes “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.” (Psalm 139:13-16, NRSV)
God loves you. Since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and the close, intimate relationship between God and creation was broken, God had a plan to restore his creation, including you (and me). He loves us so much and wants to restore our relationship with our Creator that he sent his Son to die for our sins: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NRSV) And the Apostle Paul reassures us of God’s love: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Ephesians 1:3-5, NRSV)
God chases after you. “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol , you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10, NRSV) We may choose to ignore God, evade him, deny him, but his love for us is so great, even his gift to us of free will cannot and will not keep him from chasing after us because of his great love.
God is your Father. Christ is our brother. Disobedient as we are, God claims us as his children. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” (1 John 3:1, NRSV) In our Baptism, God claims us as his children and we become part of an extended family that spans every time and place. We are his Holy Church, the Body of Christ, with Christ as the head.
So then, to answer the question, “Who am I?” You are a blessed child of God who loves you enough to never let you go!
Heavenly Father, grant that we may always remember your great love for us and that there is nothing that will separate us from the love we have in you through Christ Jesus. Give us strength to walk daily in the knowledge that we are the work of your loving hands. We praise your Holy Name. In the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen
Pondering the answer to Who am I,
 The place of the dead, hell, Hades. Art work licensed under Creative Commons.
"A poor beggar" basking in God's gift of grace seeking to share insights and inspiration to Christians of the Lutheran Tradition.