One of fall’s pleasures is to go to a corn maze and walk through. It can be confusing as you wander through with the corn high over your head.
“The place I go in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has helicopter rides after you come out of the maze. From that view, I can see that it was planted and grown with a design, The clarity that comes from a different perspective shows there was order all along,” said Pastor Ben Cachiaras.
Cachiaras gave the homily for the morning devotional service at 9:15 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 28, on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform. His homily title was “The Separation of Church and Hate: Live with CLARITY.” The scripture text was Revelation 21: 1-5 (NRSV) —
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, / ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. / He will dwell with them; / they will be his peoples, / and God himself will be with them; / he will wipe every tear from their eyes. / Death will be no more; / mourning and crying and pain will be no more, / for the first things have passed away.’ / And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
Cachiaras told the virtual congregation, “Our identity comes from Christ, and our function is to behave with civility, demonstrate humility, strive for unity and be known for charity. Today, I want to look at the clarity we get from the big picture.”
Today’s political corn maze, and all the other issues in our world, are seen from an earthly perspective. “One day, all will be clear, and we will see that we are all under God’s sovereignty under the reign of Jesus,” Cachiaras said.
Christians are called to make the Kingdom of God on earth. God’s kingdom is coming now and Christians are called to work hard for it. “All the corn rows are leading to God.”
Cachiaras led the congregation in a small exercise to illustrate his point. If people were in a room together, he would have everyone think of an issue that is near and dear to them. At his signal, everyone would shout out their issue. “Imagine the most discordant sound in the world,” he said. “That’s what the world sounds like to me, and maybe to you.”
He continued, “God gives us the gift of the gospel, the name above all names, to which every knee shall bow. Say it together: Jesus. Now we are synched up, we know where the arc of history is going, and we will land all together in front of God.”
He told the congregation that clarity comes by knowing our identity, behaving with civility, demonstrating humility, striving for unity and being known for charity.
Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be … And thou, O Lord, art more than they.”
Cachiaras said, “When we are in the corn maze, our institutions seem immovable. But they are nothing but little systems, blips in life. God’s ways are always above our ways.”
The Roman Empire, Napoleon, Hitler all came and went. “Our nation, one day, will have had its day; it will have come and gone. That can be unnerving, or it can provide clarity because we are citizens of another country,” he told the conjugation.
The goal of Christianity is not for a few people to say a certain prayer and have their sins forgiven and go to heaven.
“God’s goal is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth for everyone who trusts in God through Jesus Christ,” he said. “I encourage you to spend your best energy on policies, practices and politics that line up with the Kingdom of God. Keep looking up from the corn maze to see the bigger picture, and keep your eyes on God.”
The Rev. Natalie Hanson, a retired United Methodist minister and cohost of the United Methodist House in Chautauqua, presided at the service from the Hall of Christ. Chautauqua interim organist Joshua Stafford played “Méditation,” by Louis Vierne, for the organ prelude on the Tallman Tracker Organ. The hymn was “Jerusalem, My Happy Home,” sung by guest artist Amanda Lynn Bottoms. Stafford played “Berceuse,” by Vierne, for the anthem. The organ postlude, played by Stafford, was “Final from Symphonie No. 1,” by Vierne. This week’s services were sponsored by the Alison and Craig Marthinsen Endowment for the Department of Religion and the Daney-Holden Memorial Chaplaincy.