Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Long Shot

The Long Shot is a delightful little movie about perseverance. It really is a delightful family movie.

Young Taylor Garrett shares the same day as her mother’s (Annie Garrett) birthday. Taylor shares with her new friend, Colleen, that snow is special to her because it usually comes on “happy days,” Christmas, Thanksgiving, and her and her mother’s birthday.

As her birthday approaches she writes a very special letter addressed to Mr. God. In her letter she tells Mr. God that her birthday is approaching and that the only things that she wants is “a new leg for my mom and new eyes for Tolo (Mom’s horse).” Then in a postscript she adds that some snow would be really nice.

She addressed her envelope:

Mr. God

Taylor’s prayer is a lovely prayer that demonstrates her selfless love for her mother. I was very moved by her selflessness, but also by another clear fact: this dear child did not know the one to whom she prayed.

Many people are in this same status. They have heard of God and know that He exists. In special times they cry out to Him, but they know not how to address their prayer.

This is why God has given us His Church on earth where He not only supplies pastor/teachers to teach us to pray, but where He comes to us as our loving God and communes with us. Taylor’s prayer letter would have gone into a box at the Post Office, since the Post Office has no way to send the letter on to Heaven. But in His Church on earth, God comes to be with those who gather in His name. He comes not only to hear their prayers, but to be present with them and for them.

This is why God has promised to keep His Church pure through the pure administration of the means of grace. God wants us to be certain that when we gather in His name, that He is really with us and for us. God has established what many interpret as very rigid standards for His Church. What often is not understood is that these are not for the purpose of keeping people out of His Church, but to guarantee that where the people gather really is His Church. How else can we be sure that we truly have gathered to where God has promised to be present, except that He has given us clear and unmistakable marks of His Church and His presence with us?

How thankful we can be that we never have to address our prayers without knowing that they will reach God. He has promised that where His Gospel is preached purely and where His Sacraments are administered according to His Gospel that He is with us to bless us. Can anything be more important to us than to know that when we gather to worship that these are the only marks by which the Church is identified? Isn’t it wonderful to know that with God our hopes are not based on a “long shot”?

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