Yes, that book! Grab any Bible and you will see the Old Testament comprises roughly 2/3 of Scripture. This is the first and major installment of the story of our salvation, yet most Christians are woefully ignorant of the Old Testament!

We do know most of the great stories – Moses and the burning bush, the forty years in the desert, David and Goliath, Samson and his long hair, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and so on… What we are missing is a sense of how it all fits together and what difference it makes. Questions such as “What is the tribe Judah?” “What role did the Prophets fulfill?” “Why did the exile happen and what does it look forward to?” — these are important issues in our understanding of the Old Testament , and how it relates to the New.

To me, this is the beauty and benefit of the CASKET series we are beginning this evening. We can’t pretend to cover all of the Old Testament in a short, 11-12 week series. It’s much too big for that! But what CASKET does do is trace the overall trajectory of the Old Testament narrative, and it helps us make significant connections and associations along the way. This is a wonderful and useful accomplishment! Even the acronym CASKET itself is a big help. Of course, you will have to attend this evening to find out what CASKET means…

I invite and encourage you to join us every Thursday as our CASKET series on the Old Testament unfolds. I think you will find it to be most worthwhile! We begin with a provided supper at 6:30pm, the class begins at 7, and we finish at 8pm. Older children are welcome to sit in on the class, and childcare is available for the younger ones.

The Non Demise of Ellie
It seems I have written a lot about Ellie the Element lately, and here is one more… In case you are wondering, I intend for this to be the last!

If I had the foresight to get Comprehensive coverage, Ellie would now be totaled. It would cost more to repair the dents than the car is worth, so insurance companies would write her off. Of course, I did not have such foresight. (Someone remarked getting insurance is the message I should have taken from the swerving incident a couple weeks ago… Ouch! If so, I failed…)

So this past week I took Ellie to a couple of dent repair shops for an estimate. Both laughed at me! The out of pocket expense for a complete repair would be outrageously expensive. One shop owner told me this is the worst hail damage he has seen. The other told me “Why don’t you just drive it like that?” “In another month or two, this won’t bother you at all, you won’t even notice anymore.” I doubt that will be the case, but since I have no other good options, driving Ellie as she is now is what I am going to do.

Pondering the bad news as I drove away from the repair shop the thought occurred to me, what a wonderful reminder this is of the love God has for us! God sees all our dents and dings, especially those we try to cover over or pretend aren’t really there. God sees not only our dents and dings, but the major damage as well – the bent frame, leaky valves, and our ever faulty steering. God sees it all, and yet God takes and loves us just as we are! God never writes us off! He loves us as we are, in order that we might become more like Him, more like what we are intended to be.

The reality is that in and through Christ, the dents and dings and major damage – all of it will be repaired and made new. In God’s eyes, it is already so, for “If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). As Charles Wesley put it in the beloved hymn Love Divine, which we sang this past Sunday, Finish then Thy new creation/Pure and spotless let us be/Let us see/Thy great salvation /Perfectly restored in Thee. Amen and Amen! Let us always be mindful of the great cost by which we are reconciled and restored in Christ!

The Question
As I hinted at in last Musings, the recent natural disasters in Texas and Florida (and let’s not forget about the Caribbean, or large earthquake in Mexico) all of it begs yet again the perennial question “Where is God in all of this?”

It is a question that defies too-easy answers, and I’m not inclined to provide answers of that sort anyway. I did run across a thoughtful response, courtesy of Maurice Hagar’s prodigious Face Book feed. Here it is:

Part of the response offered by Regis Nicoll touches upon something we discussed in our Tending the Garden series over the summer, namely the fallen-ness of creation itself. The other part of his response is not unlike the explanation CS Lewis provides in The Problem of Pain. Well worth a read!

This Sunday at CTR:
1. IITB Offering

This Sunday please support the important work of IITB through our monthly special offering.

2. Kids in Worship

Join us this Sunday as our kids read the psalm, lead prayers, assist in ushering and greeting, and sing as well. Come be blessed by their participation in our worship.

See you Sunday!