A theological misfit landing in the area of Lutheranism, Dominick has come to deeply appreciate the truth of scripture as defined by the distinction between Law and Gospel. He has found freedom in knowing that Christ is his substitute on even his worst days. He has been for the course of his church life everything from chair-stacker to men's ministry leader. He is blessed with a wonderful wife and two great young men, which he can say without a doubt, he doesn't deserve. He counts among his favorite things: Star Trek, classic superhero comics, movies, Yankees and yes, he admits to it, the Knicks. He enjoys a good conversation and good food. Finally, he is grateful for the opportunity to share the message of God's Grace among all these great teachers, pastors and theologians and hopes he doesn't mess up big time. But then again, that's what grace is for, right?
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. But, who are these witnesses, what do they witness to, and what does it mean to be surrounded by a great cloud of them? What do we find in this “cloud”? The “who” is simple enough. We just need to look one chapter prior in Hebrews.
I find in the pages of the Bible, a God who constantly saves. Right from the start, He proves this by rescuing Adam and Eve from their poor choice to rebel and sin. In doing that, he sets up a system that reconciles the world. That’s right, from the very first infraction, God rolls up his sleeves and says, “everyone will need this, not just these two knuckleheads.”
Allow me to paint a picture for you: I knew a man in my old neighborhood. He was an old leathery-faced balding biker with facial tattoos. He was the kind of guy that when you saw him, and his scowl heading in your direction, you thought about crossing the street, just in case. I met him at my old church’s neighborhood food pantry.
I know it’s hard for some people to put aside old ideas and notions about Christianity, Christians, and church in general. It’s a dug-in skepticism that’s born from a life of bad experiences, and even worse Christian jargon and teachings. It’s pushing back against all of it.
I wish I was better at seeing the bigger picture. Or maybe, I wish I was simply better at seeing the larger scope of its beauty. My wife took a trip with her sister to San Francisco, and while there, she had the opportunity to visit Muir Woods.
Besides being an incredibly bad segue, in a terribly flawed article, I tend to see myself in other people in the same way this young boy sees the dead. It sometimes feels as if these other selves haunt me like shadows lurking around me, and no matter what I do, I can’t make them go away.