Perception – that is how I see and understand it

Rev. Raymond Maher

I told Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, that last week we had our internet and cable service upgraded to the latest and greatest technology. The technician had an excellent command of a world beyond my limited understanding of routers without copper wire and Wi-Fi Fibre Gig internet connections. The young technician was respectful to me, despite my ignorance about his work and the equipment he was installing.

Ed agreed that sometimes when it comes to the new advances in technology, we have no idea how it works. Some of us are always playing catch up. We knew about rolling down a car window with a handle on the door. Yes, there was a time before pushing a button opened and closed car windows. Once upon a time, we locked cars with a key.

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Then and now, comparisons can be detrimental. Because life was different in the past does not mean it was better, and that we turned out as superior, individual, persons because we lived in the good old days. Nor is the highly technical world of today superior to the days without high-speed internet connections. Some of us grew up as children having a curfew of lightning bugs. We played outside after supper until it was dark enough to see lightning bugs. There was no playing online, only outside, and we knew we better come inside when our parents called us by yelling at us. Perhaps our view of the world was localized, and life in many ways simpler, but not necessarily better or worse than today.  

Wherever we are, past, present, or future, we find both securities and calamities. The prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament was referred to as a prophet of “doom.” His perspective of what was about to happen was gloomy. Jeremiah foretold the punishment that was at hand, namely the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole land, and the Babylonian captivity. The people did not want to accept his warnings. Jeremiah wasn't intent on being cynical but wanting people to repent and return to the Lord before it was too late.

Can there be a God of both judgment and patience? Jeremiah believed the people had broken God's covenants with Him, and that God would allow them to face defeat and exile. Yet there would come a time when the people sent into exile would be released and allowed to return home. Jeremiah was aware of God’s grace, as well as his judgment. He instructed the people, “Do not fear.” He asks, “Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven and say, 'We have sinned and rebelled.’” (Lamentations 3:39-42)

The people rejected Jeremiah's call for them to return to God from a perspective of indifference towards God. They would not seek God, for they did not believe they needed Him. Only when the people suffered defeat and exile did they return to the Lord with a new perspective. In their grief, they found a real need for God and his unfailing love. Are you indifferent to God and His unfailing love?

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