Jonathan Edwards’ sermons are a challenge; they are long and thought-provoking. They wouldn’t find a place in most pulpits today, where humor, bullet points, video clips, and “four steps to success” are the order of the day.
The message I’m reading now is called “The Excellency of Christ.” Here’s a quote: His wonderful and miraculous works plainly showed Him to be the God of nature in that it appeared by them that He had all nature in His hands, and could lay an arrest upon it, and stop and change its course as He pleased. In healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the lame, He showed that He was the God who framed the eye, created the ear, and was the author of the frame of man’s body. By the dead’s rising at His command, it appeared that He was the author and fountain of life, and that He was God the Lord, to whom belong the issues from death. By His walking on the sea in a storm, when the waves were raised, He showed Himself to be that God spoken of in Job 9:8 that treadeth “on the waves of the sea.” By his stilling the storm and calming the rage of the sea by His powerful command, saying, “Peace, be still,” He showed that He has the command of the universe, and that He is that God who brings things to pass by the word of His power; who speaks and it is done; who commands and it stands fast (pp. 32-33).
I remember the first time my family and I camped in the redwoods. We parked at the ranger station, paid for a campsite, and then wandered through a little museum. We saw a diorama of tiny plastic redwood trees and watched a slide show about the history of the park. It was interesting.
But the real wonder came when we left the museum and set up camp in a grove of old growth redwoods. And then we started hiking trails that wound through 200-foot giants, sunlight streaming through a forest sprouting huckleberry bushes, azaleas, manzanita, and madrone, a primordial woodland carpeted with redwood sorrel, ferns and wild orchids.
How sad if we had thought the redwood forest was all about the museum, with its miniature forest, cheesy slideshow, and stuffed bobcat.
Edwards gets me out of the museum and causes me to look up, into the trees. I wonder how many Christians know only the Jesus of the museum. Because just beyond the parking lot is another world full of breathtaking beauty. But you may have to hike.