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Pastor's Notes - Something Extraordinary

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, pastor

Those of you who know me are aware I enjoy learning about history. The history of the U.S., of Europe, of the world, of baseball, of the community and state in which I live,...the history of most anything.  I mean, you know it is obsessively bad when I just read the history of Mcilhenny Tabasco sauce. (John Avery Mcilhenny was one of the Rough Riders with Teddy Roosevelt).

Often people wonder what is the point of studying history. Shouldn't we pay more attention to the present? Shouldn't we work to insure a better future? Of course the present and future have great value. The past is indeed past. Yet in many ways the past is still with us and has shaped our present with possible future impact.

The argument is often made that we study history to not only learn how we have gotten to where we are and become whom we are but also to avoid making the mistakes of the past in our present and future. Well enough.

One of the things I learn from history (well, maybe not the history of Tabasco sauce), is how humanity really is not much different throughout the ages. Humanity has been flawed in all recorded existence. We have hated, we have oppressed, we have not cared about the future, we have been prejudiced and even the best of our knowledge and reason have too often failed us.  We have also loved and rejoiced, served and helped, liberated and shared.  We have, at times, even made good use of our reason and knowledge. 

Not included in history is the presence and work of God throughout the ages. Even the most faithful would have difficulty discerning God at work in specific instances of history. Yet it is difficult to imagine humanity surviving through its flaws without God at work to prevent us from the  total destruction we often seem bent upon bringing on to ourselves. There is actually hope to be gleaned from a flawed humanity that yet seems to continue to get somethings right and does not let its flaws keep it from ever moving forward.  This is not incentive to not care or to ignore issues of the present or future. It is hope that even some of the worst we do need not keep us from plugging on, trying to learn and trying to improve the lot of a fallen world and a flawed people. 

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