From the Pastor’s pen.2
Blog2: Again, my name is Dale Hulme and I am the Pastor of St. Olaf Lutheran Church. In my first blog, I told the story of a woman who didn’t feel she a good enough person to attend church. Whether this was from a genuinely guilty conscience or a disdain for self-righteousness, I did not say. To this day, I am not sure where she was coming from. Nor does it matter for what I am trying to convey in these blogs. God loves her anyway. Can she love God back?
But, why love God? Why even acknowledge that God exists? I am not going to attempt to answer these questions theologically. Instead, let me use another story to address these questions. Some years back a friend, Tom, reported to me that he was getting divorced. His marriage had become stale and lackluster and since he was contemplating an affair, he felt he should get the divorce done so his new relationship would be not be encumbered with the trappings of adultery. Fair enough. Divorce in our state is “no fault.” So why did he tell me beforehand? I agonized over this and finally decided it wasn’t worth it to interfere with his decision. He would probably get divorced anyway. And so he did. After the divorce, he took up with another woman and had a successful relationship for several years. But, then, that relationship fell apart and he connected with another woman. Still no marriage. That woman contracted cancer. Suddenly the concept of relationship necessarily involved commitment. His conscience wouldn’t just let him walk away from this relationship. But, the awakening of conscience pricked feelings of guilt over abandoning his first wife. He couldn’t understand why he was feeling guilty because she had remarried and was enjoying the relationship. Sadly, Tom’s third relationship ended in death. He found himself in a crazy place -alone, ridden with guilt, and despondent with sadness. How had it all come to this? Up to this point, Tom had been in control of his feelings. “Should I pray to God,” Tom wondered. “No,” he concluded. “I’m not worthy of being answered after what I did to my wife.” And right there Tom decided to carry sadness with him for the rest of his life as a penance of sorts. But, the God I know would prefer to lift the sadness and have Tom restored to happiness. It would not be the shallow happiness that directed the actions of his former self, but a happiness forged in the journey of life that would direct him to make more compassionate life decisions in the future. I have prayed many times for God to help Tom revisit the decision not to seek his help, because the God I know would respond.
Peace… Pastor Dale