Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

July 21, 2022

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

July 21, 2022
Many of you are too young to remember what we more “mature” people refer to as “The Iron Curtain.”  This phrase described the borders of the former U.S.S.R. --- The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  This border wasn’t marked by a literal iron curtain---but it did have fences, and walls---like the infamous one that separated East and West Berlin.

This “union” was a forced one for many countries---and it was anything but a republic. The Iron Curtain has been down for quite some time (since November 9, 1989) but things haven’t changed for “everybody.”

Back in 2009 The Wall Street Journal ran a story that explained this lack of change for one group. Here’s an excerpt:

“For years the Iron Curtain (actually, an electric fence) separated two populations of red deer (pictured above) living in the forests encompassing the border between Germany and what is now the Czech Republic. When government officials began to dismantle the fence in 1989 (around the time the Berlin Wall fell), the physical barrier between those populations was removed.

But when wildlife biologists began studying the deer in 2002, they quickly realized that the deer living in Germany were not migrating into the Czech Republic, and the deer living in the Czech Republic were not migrating into Germany. In other words, both populations of deer were still behaving as if the fence remained intact.

One deer in particular has become a microcosm of the entire population. Her name is Ahornia, and her movements in the forests of eastern Germany were tracked for several years by a GPS collar fitted to her neck by biologist Marco Heurich. During the time she was monitored, Ahornia's location was tracked more than 11,000 times in Germany—but not a single time in the Czech Republic. She was tracked at the border of the two countries several times, but she never crossed over.

Two elements of Ahornia's story are particularly noteworthy.

First, she was born 18 years after the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the fence that comprised the Iron Curtain. She has no physical memory of the fence’s existence, and yet she is still blocked by it.

Second, the land formerly occupied by the fence and its guard towers has now been turned into a large and thriving nature preserve. In other words, the land beyond the fence has become a haven—the perfect home for deer like Ahornia and her family—and yet she will not enter.

Marco Heurich and his team of biologists have come up with several explanations for the deer's strange behavior. Most deer travel across traditional trails, for example—ones that are passed down through generations by modeling and repetition. It’s possible that Ahornia and the other members of her herd simply haven't ventured beyond the beaten path.

But wildlife filmmaker Tom Synnatzschke, who often works in the area, has a different explanation. According to Tom, ‘The wall in the head is still there.’”

As we’ve learned in our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, these days there are numerous walls in the heads of too many Christians---mental walls that prevent us from enjoying the unity with which we have been blessed---walls that make us ineffective in completing the Great Commission Jesus’ gave us.

What is the antidote for this?  Paul talks about it in Ephesians 2 and 3:

“[Jesus] himself is our peace, Who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

As I inferred, these days there are more walls than the one that was between Jews and Gentiles---but the principle is the same. In our divided---fractured---culture, our countercultural unity is a witness to the world.  It’s a powerful way we let our light shine.  And like a campfire issues an unspoken “invitation” to those lost in the night---our unified light (in spite of our differences over nonessentials) will draw people from the darkness of sin to the Light of the World.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
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