voices of faith q & a

Kansas City Star

Q. So what do you think God is up to these days?


The Rev. Penny Ellwood, Blue Springs, Mo., campus pastor, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection:

A. Last Sunday afternoon as I was leaving our church, I noticed a new, 4-foot cross sculpture appeared to be tilting a bit. When I walked out to its ring of river rocks, a small bird began sharply trilling at me.

This little brown and white bird fluffed out her tail feathers in quite an impressive display and trilled ever louder, clearly distressed at my presence. It almost seemed as if she were protecting the cross.

When I backed away, her feathers settled down, but she didn’t take her eyes off me. It took me a few moments to spot the nest of mottled eggs that she was protecting in the rocks. It wasn’t the most ideal place to lay her eggs, although I’ll have to say, as a pastor, I loved the metaphorical implications of building a nest in the shadow the cross. Rain or shine, she’s there, sitting amongst the rocks, faithfully protecting her nest.

As I thought about the question, “So what do you think God is up to these days?” my first inclination was to say, “Have you taken a look out your window lately?!”

I don’t think there is a prettier place in the world than in the springtime. God’s handiwork is all around us. But then this little bird came to my mind. The bird reminds me that God is at work every day when faithful, ordinary people are willing to stand up against forces larger than themselves to care for and protect others.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen faithful people rush in after the bombs in Boston or the fertilizer- plant explosion in Texas. God is in the midst of these actions that we see, “perfect love casting out fear” in the hearts of men and women. I believe that because I believe that God is love, and God’s love is always active, always at work. God is always up to something, whether we notice it or not.

You can count on it.


The Rev. Pat Rush, pastor of Visitation Catholic Church, Kansas City, Mo.:

A. Well, God usually has his hands full, and I suspect these days are no different.

First of all, it took God a long, long time to create humanity, the earth and the world (or the other way around, depending on which creation account you are reading), and you know that had to be hard work.

Then it took God decades to save the Israelites from slavery and hammer out a covenant with them.

That required a lot of patience. Then it took God 30 years or so to teach humankind God’s new commandment of love and to witness to that commandment by dying on the cross. That took a lot of self-sacrifice. I suspect God is up to much the same today.

God is still creating new life. God brings children to birth through the blood and anguish of the birthing process, and God brings communities to rebirth through the resolve of Sandy Hook and the courage of Boston. God is still saving us from bondage to sin and death. God extends hope and forgiveness to perpetrators and sinners by repeatedly saying, “I love you; return to me and let’s make a just world together.”

And God is still proclaiming his law of self-sacrificing love by motivating first responders and bystanders to possibly put themselves in harm’s way to save and comfort others.

God still has his hands full!

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