A Crooked Course

Dear Crooked People,

Immanuel Kant said of human sinfulness, “Nothing straight can be made out of crooked wood that is humanity.” If Kant is right, the situation for all of us can be summarized in one word ~hopeless.

Today September 11, 2013 is the 12th anniversary of the infamous day, September 11, 2001, when the United States endured the deadly attack of terrorists. Currently, the President and the United States Congress are sorting out the situation in Syria. Is there sufficient evidence that human atrocities in Syria have been so unjust, brutal, and deadly that military intervention is warranted? Is humanity crooked and so bent on sin that evil cannot be stopped? Is redemption possible? Does God seek justice ?

Luke 15 is the “Lost Chapter of the Bible.” In that portion of scripture, the lost includes a sheep, a coin and son. In verses 11 to 32, Jesus tells the great story of the Prodigal Son. How would you feel if a brother or sister of yours was given an early inheritance and squandered it on gambling and prostitutes in Las Vegas? Then upon running out of assets, they returned home and your parents secured the services of a party planner and tossed the biggest shindig you had ever seen to honor your crooked sibling's return? What emotions would be running through your mind, body, and spirit as you watched the celebration for the prodigal? I think most of us would struggle to get in the party spirit for a brother or sister who had “taken advantage of the situation.” Where is the justice in a moment such as that?

Jesus tells the story to let us know that it is God's will to gather all sinners back home. Jesus desires to spin each of us around and equip us with the heavenly GPS to get home again. Sin does not allow any of us to take a straight path. Each person takes a crooked course when being redeemed by the Lord. However, God is active and does not give up on any country, community, church, family or person. Jesus wants us all to come back! Nothing rests outside the merciful invitation of Jesus! We may give up. Humans may think something is beyond redemption, but Jesus disagrees.

On Sunday we welcome our good friend and partner in mission the Reverend Leon Kelly as our preacher for the day. Rev Kelly has seen some despicable things as he fights gang activity in the inner city. If you follow the daily news, you are aware that right now there is heightened gang activity in the Denver area. He has endured moments of despair but he has never given up! One of the people Rev Kelly worked closely with was Tom Clements the Executive Director of the Colorado Division of Corrections. Director Clements was slain in his doorway on March 21st of this year. The terror of the shooting was felt by all in Colorado, especially the law enforcement community.

Even in death, Director Clements left us all with inspiration. He once said, "God draws straight with crooked lines.” The world is messy. Sept 11 is a day marked as a reminder of the chaos that exists. The wounds you hold from others' crooked ways being inflicted upon you, and the times we have stepped out of line and over the line to cause harm to another, are reminders of the crooked lines of sin among us. Thanks be to God that even in the face of such an unjust death, Tom Clements was right. For Jesus has made us right and is at work now to offer mercy in a fallen world to restore righteousness to our global community.

Let us pray for all crooked lines, including terrorists, gangsters, and the one that runs through my heart. For indeed it is true, “God draws straight with crooked lines.”

Still in one peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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