Back when you were a child, do you remember what your mom or dad said when you asked about something that you wanted to do?
You may not remember too often or at all when your mom or dad said, “Yea, that’s an awesome idea. Let’s go do that right away.” But, I am sure that your mom and dad gave a resounding “Okay” to some of what you wanted to do.
We probably remember more about the times when we heard an answer to the negative.
Maybe you recall a conversation like this with your mom or dad:
“Can I go outside?”
“Not right now.”
“It looks like rain. It’s getting close to dinner. You have to do your homework. You have to set the table. You need to wash your hands.”
After that list of reasons, you ask with the integrity of a very sincere person who wants to understand each one of those reasons.
So, you follow-up by asking with a deep expression on your face, “Why?”
And you get another list of things you have to do from taking out the trash to feeding the dog.
You can see that you are not doing well with communicating your desire to go outside to play, so you try asking one more time with the most serious expression that you can muster, “Why?”
And you find that you have pushed the situation too far because you get the proverbial answer that can’t be refuted.
The tone that you hear is stern and pointed like a pin, “NO! Because I’m stressed right now, and because I said so.”
You’ve heard that answer before, and you’ve found that it’s better to just drop the whole thing and go into the living room and watch cartoons.
When we were kids, we wondered what our moms’ and dads’ stress had to do with what we wanted to do like going outside to play.
But, now that we are adults, we get the thing about “stress,” and we know that saying, “Because I said so,” settles and ends all matters.
Although, as adults, we do not like to hear if you anyone tells us, “Because I said so.” If someone is saying, “No, that will not work,” or “No, that’s a bad idea,” we get offended.
It’s hard not to take a rejection personally. When another person is saying, “No,” to me, my self-esteem can get hurt.
After all, I did put a lot of thought into my idea, and something that I wanted to do was a good direction for me to be going in. At least, thinking from my perspective, I thought I was right, and I can give some good reasons for my point of view.
Going back to when we were children and all that we wanted to do was to go outside to play for awhile-from our perspective, as a child, we thought a little playtime outside was a perfectly good idea.
Of course, we would promise that we would come running in as fast as we could when it was time for dinner, but mom and dad knew that it would take two or three “yells” to call us in.
As a child or as an adult, it’s just human to have an ego and want to stick to our wills. To not go in our ways, it can mean that someone is trying to dominate us.
We like our freedom of choice. We have our opinions. And we want to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong for us.
Our egos want to protect our self-image. It’s important that we do build ourselves up and not let anyone overpower us.
But, as we talk about choices, opinions, and what’s right and wrong, we, out of human ego, can mess all of that up.
We have to admit that we do, at times, make “bad” choices.
Of course, we have the right to our opinions, but we can get so strong in our opinions that we become “opinionated, and we start to impose our ideas on others.
In much the same way when it comes to morals, we are to have a solid sense of what is right or wrong. But, again, as we can do with our opinions, we can be so strong in our morals that in trying to correct wrongs, we can go around moralizing. We are imposing our morals on others with an air of superiority.
Imposing our ideas on others will cause conflict-no one likes a person who thinks that he is so much better than everyone else. That conflict can become so contentious that it creates divides. Sadly, these gulfs can get filled with hate.
With so many issues in these days, it would seem that we need to keep addressing them- we know that to leave them hanging out there that things will get worse.
We need more data, and we need more talk from the experts. By figuring in the data into our positions and listening to the experts, it seems that is all that is needed for all come together.
I do not want to begrudge the data and experts, for we do need to have solid resources to make our decisions.
But, because of our human ego that tends to want to preserve its integrity, it will, for the most part, want to conclude its argument with some form of saying, “Because I said so.”
It’s not that we are not to have disagreements, but if we are to be unified, as we are working out our small differences to our wide-gapped conflicts, we need one more part that runs through all that we say and do.
We all need to be standing on the same ground, and that same ground is God’s Word. I have noticed since the outbreak of the virus and the violence of this past summer that Billy Graham Ministries has put out announcements.
Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, has been basically talking in these announcements about how God is not central to American society, and he wants all people to pray to God for help.
We are in societies to make where we are living better. In working together, we work through our differences to have the best practices put in place.
When we are working together, we are to bring the facts, figures, and all the studies from the experts to the table.
We do have reason and logic to figure out what are the solutions to our problems. And when we have found a solution, we should be able to go back and explain the reasons how we came to that answer.
If we see an answer, we will not be satisfied if someone says about how he got his answer with just, “Because I said so.” That answer comes off arrogant, authoritative, and gives the impression of having a bias.
Even when we are doing a math problem, our teacher wants us to show our work that proves our answer.
God the Father has done His work. He created the heavens and the earth. Then, he made all plants, animals, and creepy crawly things. Finally, God made humans in His image.
This image was for the first humans to know only what is good. And they could have known only good, but God gave them one command-not to eat from the tree of good and evil.
Remember how we talked about humans can make “bad” choices. The first humans made the choice to eat the fruit of the tree and got to know both good and evil.
That choice was so bad that all of humanity would know the evil that allows the way for sin.
Knowing that sin is here as long as this world keeps spinning is a lot to take in.
We can sit down at the table and ask many questions about the stars, planets, earth, and all the creepy crawly things that God has made.
Why did God settle that the octopus should have eight limbs and not nine or seven? For me, eight legs is the right number, so we can call it an octopus, which seems like a good name.
How can God make winds that are breezy, light, and cool, and He can also make winds blow with such force that they destroy? We have a lot of questions about God’s creation and about our lives as we should have.
We were made to explore, ask questions, be curious, seek adventures, and live life with gusto and vigor.
Maybe I am sounding like a beer commercial, but God made an awesome world for us and lives that can beautiful, but also can have some ugly times.
For sure, God made an intricate, delicate, vibrant, robust, balanced, ordered, and chaotic world.
If you notice the adverbs that I’m using to describe this earth and our lives, they do not all run alongside each other, but some go in opposite directions.
It seems that we might do better in our lives if we got complete explanations for everything that we wonder about, confuses us, and we have issues with.
And it’s here on this day that we remember the Reformation that I want to bring in Martin Luther, and what I think is the greatest little book in the world-The Small Catechism.
If you take a look at the cover of the Catechism, it says, “With an explanation.”
At the time of Reformation, Martin Luther noticed that most people didn’t know the basic teachings of the Bible-not even a lot of the clergy at the time.
So, Martin Luther wrote a simple explanation of the chief parts of the faith. A catechism is a book of questions and answers.
If you remember back in confirmation class, for example, after a commandment, there came the question, “What does this mean?”
And your pastor had you memorize a lot of those meanings, and I’m sure if I would ask some of you, to this day, you remember some of those meanings.
The modern editions have also explanations of how we, as Lutherans, stand on some of the issues of the day like abortion and the different creation theories of today. To help support the stances on some very controversial topics, these explanations give verses from Scripture.
Do you remember also how many of those explanations had the phrase, “Fear and trust in God above all things?”
Although the Small Catechism helps us to make sense of a lot of what God wants us to know about Him and His ways, the bottom line when it comes to knowing the reason for
everything about this creation and all that happens in our lives go down to these words, “Because God said so.”
Again, our egos that can be stubborn and hard want, for the most part, our ways, and if we don’t get our way, we want, at least, a good reason.
When Job was going through his bad times and asked a lot of questions, God came back with non-answers. God did not give specifics, but He mostly said to Job, “I am the creator of everything; therefore, I know what is best for you.”
It comes down to that we will not always have the answers that we want to have or even understand, but we can trust in an Almighty God who cares and loves us in every way.
And all that God wants from us is to love Him above all things and to love one another.
When we bring love to the table of our differences, we will get through them much better. Standing on the ground of God’s will and knowing His love for all people will bring us together, so the gaps are filled with care for each other.
God the Father sticks by what He says. When God said, “Let there be light,” the light appeared. As with all that He said during the six days of creations, everything was created.
God then said that He so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to save the world from sin.
Jesus did come into the world to save the world from sin by his death and resurrection.
Each one of us here today is a child of God because God has said so.
Each one of us is forgiven of every sin and has a new life because God has said so in the name of Jesus Christ.
Each one of us will enter heaven one day, and we will see our Lord face to face along with all of our loved ones who have died in the faith because God has said so.
God has said many things to His people. He has said His Law that commands us to love Him and one another, and He has also said to us His good news in Christ.
We are to use reason and logic, and we can have our opinions, but we are to bring love to the table, too.
If we are only bringing to the table our egos, we are not hearing the voice of God and what He is saying to us.
When we hear what God has said to us, especially what He has said to us in Christ, we find a peace that the world can’t give to us, and it’s in this peace that we can get along, even in our differences of opinion.
Have you ever had a cookie that was so delicious that you asked, “What is in this recipe?” And the person said, “I baked it with love.”
For the world and our lives to come together, we can have data, studies, and opinions, but central to everything, for it all to come together, it all has to have the love of God in Christ.
Because God says His love in Christ conquers all, we can have peace and comfort in all of our situations.
Whatever we say and do in the name of Christ will happen for the good for one reason only-because God the Father almighty, our creator, a God of love and grace, says so.