Toward a Faithful Reading

"God told you so, God told you so;
All those many years ago!
But did you listen-- no, no, no;
And now we say God told you so."
--from "Christmas in Reverse," a student pageant
I sat in the church today listening to one of our students' school Christmas pageant, and listened to these words, and wondered how many times the writer of the song heard his parents say "I told you so." It seemed to me that only a person who had a really bad association with those words would think to use them, even lightheartedly, in a song about God.
Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, is no theologian. But he does find the mark a number of surprising times describing the attitudes people have toward God.
"Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting 'Gotcha.' It wouldn't have mattered if they hadn't eaten it."
"Why not?"
"Because when you're dealing with somebody who has that sort of mentality... you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end." --The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Where did this sense that God is waiting to catch us doing wrong come from? And how many of our students believe it? Worse than that, how many of our students believe it because of something we taught them?
The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents; to another two talents; and to another one talent, each according to his ability.
As the man drove away, he said to his driver, "I know these guys really well, and I can't wait to see what they've done when I come back. The first one, I know he'll do something great-- he's the best I have, and he's usually right on when I give him instructions. He always asks for directions when he needs them and he's been trying to learn everything he can about my business since he started with me. So I gave him the most.
The second one, I see a lot of potential in him. He's a smart kid, and he has a lot of energy. When he gets it right, he gets it really right. All he needs is some more practice and he can grow to be great too. So I gave him enough money to put some pressure on him, and I think it'll push him just enough to make him shine.
And that third servant, well, I really hope. I hope he'll take my money out and use it. I hope he'll know that I'm trusting him. I hope this money breaks him out of the funk he's been in lately. We'll see when I come home. But my house is in good hands."

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