Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 8, 1999
Lutheran stresses 'Wow!' of creation
Ecumenical mission hears pastor promote reflection on life's simplicity
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Lutheran pastor the Rev. David Kaiser's advice to Christian adults is to "have some fun, write some poetry and sing some songs. Alleluia!"
It's sound advice for adults who have started seeing creation and all living things in the context of a scientific formula rather than seeing them simply as creations of God.
It's back to the basics advice.
Kaiser, an Iowa native now living in Saskatchewan, was the facilitator for the 10th annual Sherwood Park Ecumenical Mission, Nov. 1 to 4.
Kaiser offered this advice to more than 500 people on the first evening of the mission. His homily, entitled "The giraffe is a joke, tumbleweeds too," was a look at how Christians have evolved into scientific thinkers rather than just accepting the simple grace of God.
He cites an excerpt from the book, Children's Letters to God where a young girl writes:
Did you mean for the giraffe to look that way or was it a joke?
"I wonder if (the writer) doesn't have it right," Kaiser said. "Instead of wondering what the ecological, scientific reasoning for the giraffe being the way it is, we just accept it as a joke from God to us."
He enhanced God's simplicity with another example, from the comic strip B.C. where a caveman asks God, "Why on earth did you make tumbleweed?" To which God replies, "Because I thought they would look better on earth than in heaven."
The concept of God has become more complex with time and most of that is due to educational advancement. According to Kaiser, it seems the more we learn from textbooks, the more we lose of the true meaning of God.
"There was more romance in our religion back then," Kaiser said. "There was an easier conceptualization of God."
The annual ecumenical mission was initiated in 1990 with Roman Catholic Father Tom Ryan and Anglican minister, Father William Derby. It is an opportunity for the Sherwood Park community to come together and celebrate the common faith in Christ, despite denominational differences.
Organizers believe it is the only ecumenical mission of its kind in Canada, perhaps even internationally.
Along with OLPH, the mission is also sponsored by St. John Lutheran, Ardrossan United, St. Thomas Anglican, Mount Olivet Lutheran, Sherwood Park United, Bethel Lutheran and Salisbury United.
Past facilitators have included Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton, and Pallotine Father Erik Reichers.
"I've heard good things about this mission from friends who have attended in the past," said Claire Steen, who attends OLPH. "You'd never think you could get this many people from different churches in the same place to listen to the same message."
Her friend Anne Dryer, a member of St. Thomas Anglican, added, "It's nice that (Kaiser) could talk about God in a way that everyone could agree on. It kind of shows you that we've all been wrestling with each other in the past for nothing. Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, everyone, we're really all the same."
Like the potluck dinner that was part of the kickoff celebration, the mission itself is a potluck of God's creation.
"Think of God knitting and pearling you in your mother's womb," Kaiser said. "Because it makes about as much sense as the biological reason of where babies come from."
But the simplified answer that everything is a creation of God and celebrating that simplicity, is no longer acceptable, said Kaiser. Instead many Christians have placed creation into the hands of science and explained the livelihood of the flowers and the trees with numerical equations instead.
In his talk, Kaiser put aside the Christian theology and doctorate induced vocabulary to go back to a God "who is the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier.
"We need to learn again, to listen to the mountains and the hills as the prophet Isaiah wrote - we just need to listen and say 'Wow!'
"We write dissertations about beetles and bugs and we forget that it was God that made all that. That's all there is to it."