May 19, 2019
When Walt Disney opened the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland in the 1950s, he said: “Tomorrowland is a vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements ... a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals: [the] Atomic Age ... the challenge of outer space ... and the hope for a peaceful and united world.”
Since then, Tomorrowland has gone through at least three major redesigns and numerous small adjustments. The first Tomorrowland featured attractions such as the Monsanto House of the Future, an oddly shaped, rounded structure that resembled a flattened marshmallow with a triangular pie-piece cut out of it. Inside, everything was made of plastic, synthetic fibers and other manufactured materials.
There was the Rocket to the Moon, a tall, pointy object shaped like a typical 1950s sci-fi movie rocket, with a TWA airline logo painted on the side. Surely, by the turn of the millennium, we’d be rocketing off to the moon as casually as 1950s travelers flew coast to coast.
The Monorail, it was promised, would be the way Americans got around in decades to come. Its cars featured oversized tailfins resembling those of 1950s Cadillacs. Yesterland.com is a shrine to these departed Disney attractions, complete with photos.
Predicting what tomorrow is going to look like is always a dicey business. This week we will be exploring “Tomorrow’ from John’s vision on Platmos. It is slightly different than Disney’s and has the power to inspire real hope for us as disciples.
See you Sunday as we explore tomorrow!
Grace & Peace,
Click on the links to see these fun objects from Yesterland for yourself.
THOSE IN WHITE
May 12, 2019
Before WWI, Dr. Albert Schweitzer answered a missionary call and went to Africa to provide medical care. For the first time he dealt with lepers, whose large lesions, open sores, tough, hide-like crusts and dismembered hands, arms and feet showed the ravages of this dread scourge. If the disease had advanced far enough in a patient, his fingers, toes or a hand or foot would be missing, with only a stump remaining. Many damaged feet were bandaged in large quilted bags so that the pain could be eased by padded protection of the afflicted area.
All matters requiring medical attention were not so gruesome, however. The birth of babies was a delight to Schweitzer. One of the first and most amazing discoveries he made in his practice was that parents and family immediately painted a new baby white, and sometimes the mothers as well. "Is it because they wish they were white?" the doctor asked incredulously the first time he saw a whitewashed infant.
The natives howled with laughter. "No, it is to frighten off the evil spirits who, if they see the white color, will be afraid and not harm the baby or the mother!" That white should be a dreaded color amused Schweitzer. Eventually, as he delivered a wriggling infant, held it by its feet, slapped its buttocks, he would say as a standard reminder to the parents, "Don't forget to paint it white."
But there were far more of the unpleasant cases for the doctor to deal with than there were pleasant ones: These patients were members of what Schweitzer called "the fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain."
This week I will continue our series “Disclosure” by preaching for the seventh chapter of the book of Revelation. I believe it was written not to bring fear, but to offer hope to those who remain faithful while being part of “the fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain." So, please join me as we explore “Those in White”, and seek that word of hope.
See you in this place of hope Sunday morning!
Grace & Peace,
May 5, 2019
This is a story about a funeral. The pastor leading the funeral was eloquent and full of emotion. He had quoted extensively from Scripture and preached a comforting and beautiful message. Now he was closing the message by quoting John, imprisoned on the island of Patmos when he wrote Revelation.
"I can see old John now," the pastor intoned dramatically, "I can see old John now, on the isle of Patmos, looking out from that dungeon cell . . . into yon distant horizon . . . .and saying . ."
And then a long pause. Some hemming and hawing. Shifting from one foot to the other. Then the pastor took another stab at the passage. But he couldn't get past John in that prison cell. So he began talking about Heaven, and sheep, and still waters. Then he leaned into the pulpit, and with all manner of gravity, began describing John in his prison cell again. As he got to, " . . . into yon distant horizon . . . and saying . . . ," he froze. With an apologetic smile, the pastor remarked, "Folks, I guess you've figured out by now that I . . . can't remember what John said!"
Slowly, the family members of the deceased began to laugh. Soon, the whole church began to laugh. And finally, the pastor himself began to laugh. And nobody ever found out what happened on the isle of Patmos. It was never disclosed in that service.
The Greek name of the Bible book of Revelation, A·po·kaʹly·psis (apocalypse), means “Uncovering” or “Disclosure.” This name indicates the meaning of Revelation—it uncovers matters that had been hidden and discloses events that were happening and would happen long after it was written. These next few weeks we will be exploring the Boke of Revelation in a series titled “Disclosure”.
This Sunday we will gather to explore what is being disclosed to us about The New World promised. See you in church Sunday!
Grace & Peace,