Our Father

Our Father

I often use the outline of prayer, or at least one of the prayers models of Jesus when I pray.  I no longer recite the outline found in Matthew 6 by rote memory over and over for a certain number of times as I grew up doing in the Roman Catholic Church.  Now, I concentrate on each of the statements in the prayer model and LISTEN to what meaning is given me as well as just asking about the various statements in the prayer.  One morning this week while listening to the “our Father” part some points came to me, some of which have come before, and some of which are new to me.

1.) “Our” Father is not just “my” Father… He is also “your” Father.

2.) What does “our” Father do?  “Our” Father offers us his unconditional love, but not only that, Our father means more to us.

3.) “Our” Father also supplies our needs, our food, our clothes, our need for love, our need for companionship, our need for peace, our need for trust, our needs, all of them, in many ways, in all places, at all times…

4.) But, “Our” Father does even more; our Father trains us, our Father draws us unto himself, into his arms. Our Father gives us direction in life, our Father designs into us, each of us, skills and personalities which are different from each other, but still a reflection of his being, his essence, his image.  This is our Father.

5.) “Our” Father not only loves us, but disciplines us, and our Father chastises us and corrects us when we step outside, If we can ever do that, of our Father’s will.  (I will have more to say about this point later…)

6.) “Our” Father….. You may by now have noticed a lot of “Our” Fathers being mentioned so far, but this is not vain repetition…. “Our” Father implies a communal meaning… Our Father is Your Father, Our Father is our Enemy’s father, although our enemy may not even know Our Father.  Yet…  We, as brothers and sisters, (yes, I believe our Father thinks we are human brothers and sisters), are fighting each other against our Father’s desire.

7.) “Our” Father… While listening, it came to me that just the other day I was in communal prayer with some others… We were praying from the Psalms, using Psalms 136 and 137 as our prayer model.  You may wish to look up these Psalms and read them.  If so, please notice the repetition in Psalms 136 of “for His steadfast love endures forever.”  This phrase is repeated 26 times, apparently a congregational response to the worship leader, like is done in the Roman Catholic Church, “for His steadfast love endures forever,” “for His steadfast love endures forever,” etc….  26 times.  We all know, then, by now, that our Father’s steadfast love endures forever.

Lastly, I want to mention, that our communal prayer leader also chose Psalm 137 to read in conjunction with Psalm 136.  Psalm 137 ends with:

Ps 137:8-9

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,

happy is he who repays you

for what you have done to us —

9 he who seizes your infants

and dashes them against the rocks.


The leader, knowing me, and my beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence, poked a little fun at me, saying “This is for John’s benefit.”  I advised him I could help him understand this and indeed, just the day before, that I had shared a couple of CDs regarding things such as this with one of my Muslim friends with whom I have discussed such things about God.  Many of us wonder, and are perplexed with such things, that our Father’s love could endure forever, then see how our God seemingly approves of little babies heads being dashed against rocks, apparently taking joy in this vengeance.  Later, in the New Testament, we see Jesus dying on the cross for all mankind, both friend and enemy….

I said no more…. I did not even feel like praying, just thinking that some would believe that “our” father, MY Father, could imply God takes pleasure in dashing little babies against rocks…  This is not the God I know whose exact being, representation and substance was revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  I do not believe this is the God who lives in me, and in whom I live, and have my being.

This brings us back to the point I said I would speak more of, that “our” Father also disciplines us.  I believe this discipline is and Organismic discipline, that if we, or our enemy, refuse to LISTEN to God’s teaching as an individual, or as a nation, (which, it appears the United States is refusing to do, as well as every other nation), we are refusing that God, who lets us in our God given Free Will, do as we desire and our sins are disciplined in a natural, organic way.  God apparently turns us over to our own devices, and those of Satan, and demons, and natural circumstances and events as He withdraws His protection from us, (remember – deliver us from Evil phrase?) for our correction, just as he did with Job, and those demons bash little children against the rocks..  I believe that God also disciplines even our enemy.  When the enemy, the Babylonians, were too cruel in their punishment to the Israelites, God turned the Babylonians over to the Medes and Persians, (assuming I remember my history correctly) I believe this is what God is describing, (Descriptive), or Predicting, (Predictive), not prescribing, or actually causing it to happen. It will happen, as a natural, organic punishment, not a divine punishment.  God did not do it…  Medes and Persians did it in this case.  I believe our Father releases us to our own desires, our own wishes, and as He does so, he is weeping for us, and for our enemy…  It was not God who would be Happy about this travesty…  It was the crazed and madden perpetrators who would take warped pleasure in perpetuating this Myth of Redemptive Violence, in which 99% of the world believes, and 1% do not believe.  All the while, as our Father watches this travesty of blood spattered rocks and little babies heads crushed, bleeding, and dying.  God is crying, for both Babylon, and us, and for those who are doing such things to both of us.

I believe in these circumstances we can also listen to the words of Jesus, dying  on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  I believe His steadfast loves endures forever.  I believe our Father loves us…  (For, His steadfast Love endures forever…)

Even more, it is not just our Father, whose loving kindness endures forever, it is that our Father IS love..  Love is who he is, not just what he does…  Love is the essence of His being… This is predominately the story of the Old Covenant, (that God is a loving and just God) and clearly the story of the New Covenant, of Jesus Christ, with whose clear lens of Grace, in Christ, we can look backward to some of the clouded and less clear Scriptures in the Old Covenant.  We still see through the glass darkly, but hopefully, not as darkly as we would without the Light of Christ…..

Grace & Peace,

John Cooper


Not a Good Provider?

Not a Good Provider?

I heard a sermon recently, by a friend of mine, Dan Arsenhault, entitled, “The Answer to the Question that No one is Asking”.  Dan spoke of the time Jesus was asked by the religious folk, “Should we pay taxes to the Emperor, or not?  Jesus asked to see a coin, and answered the question with a question, as He most often did, asking, “Who’s image is on the coin?”

Dan asked a question that apparently did not occur to the religious folk in this story, “Whose image is on you?”

He went on to explain that we are all created in the image of God and that God’s indelible stamp is on each of us.

In this context, Dan reviewed the message of the Scriptures, which we should, if we carry God’s image, love one another as (as much as) we love ourselves…  He admitted his guilt in not doing so, and all who understood his message came to the point that, neither do we, and we must fall back on the justice and mercy of God.

We all have a God, in whom we are carriers of His image.  To NOT render to our fellow man, created in the same image, all that we have, without condition, without limit, is a failure to render what rightly belongs to God.

At least, that is my take on the sermon today….

It got me thinking, did Jesus actually answer the question about whether we should pay taxes to the Emperor, or not?  I think perhaps, Jesus leaves it up to us….  Some would say, no, we should not pay taxes, where about 40% of our spending goes toward military programs designed to kill those created in the same image of God that we are, including, according to what I heard from Dan, (I am hard of hearing, correct me if I am wrong), we spend 40 Billion Dollars to kill other Christians each year.  I would add, let alone the Trillions we spend to kill other humans likewise created in the image of God.

So, after the sermon, I thanked him…  It was a very good sermon and there is another point to it which Dan did not yet share…..  Regarding what happens to the image of God in a person if he goes to hell, whatever definition of hell it is….  Maybe we will go there and find out if we do not love one another…

Well, I was reminded of something else, since I have been wearing an orange plastic bracelet the past couple of months, which also asks another unanswered question related to our discussion of whose image is on the coin, and other things we are speaking of….  The bracelet is from Sojourners, http://www.sojo.net/, and the question is: “What would Jesus Cut?”  To me, a very good question in view of our budget crisis, and any image on our U.S. coins or paper currency, being pretty much worthless, anyway….   Should we cut our military budget, or our Social Justice Budget, intended to care for those created in the image of God?  Which is it?  I gave Dan the bracelet I was wearing, since I had one more, and, being the ex hippie I imagine him to be, he put it right onJJ..   Now, I have given away all my plastic bracelets, but most of those, except my wife, Wink, to whom I gave them, (Wink put hers right on), were apparently not thinking it was exactly the best thing to be wearing around with such a question on it, “What would Jesus cut?”  Is it only those of us who are just a little out of the box, slightly off our rockers, according to the Emperor, (who himself, wears no clothes), who appreciate and understand such things as this…  (I also wore my St. Louis Cardinals red logo shirt under my jacket when I went to a friend’s wedding recently:):))  After all, it was the day after the Cardinals won the World Series, what else is one supposed to wear? :):)

Then, in my random thoughts I thought of how many, who knew my Father, think I am created in his image.  One family friend called me Lawrence, which was my Dad’s name, one time…  Now, as I spout off such craziness as this and other essays and articles, they are sure I am definitely created in his image.  I remember a faded out old farm truck, a 1939 KB5 International, I think I recall, with hand lettering by my father, signs on the side of the door, Lawrence B. Cooper & Son….  I was his first son, and the other sons never got added to the doors on that old truck….  My Dad did all he could to provide, given the very difficult economic times on the farms he farmed in those years…  I remember a statement my mother mistakenly made one time, in front of my Dad, actually, and in public, that “Lawrence is just not a good provider”..  I am sure that cut him to the heart, having done probably all he could for us, a large family of 7 children…..  I have not been such a good provider, myself, recently, in these worst of economic times for housing in recorded history…  I don’t think the U.S. Government needs to look to me for assistance…

Then, after those thoughts, I was thinking, I am created in the image of another Father, God, who owns the whole universe, and I am a member of a family, called the Church, whose husband, Jesus, is a very Good provider…  Also, I am left with indelible marks of this God, the Holy Spirit, I believe with all my heart….  I believe we have a good provider, a husband who owns  the whole earth and all that is in it…..  Maybe the problem is not God’s provision, but our own failure to provide and share in a loving manner for ALL those created in God’s image, as much as lies within us…  I think we have enough…  We are well provided for…

Dan’s original premise that we are all created in God’s image was based upon the book of Genesis, where man is also early on instructed to “dress and keep” the earth.  Would God’s original mission and vision for those created in His image not be that we should not only take care of God’s provision for us, but also dress and keep, cloth the naked, feed the hungry, etc., of those likewise created in the same image?  ALL of them, not just those who look and believe exactly like us?  Oh, and for those who do believe just like us, if we are Christ followers, for instance, should we not be known for the same character of Jesus, of His unconditional love and forgiveness, of His Peace in us, which He left us?

What are we going to do with this provision?  If the U.S. thinks it is running short on funds, which it definitely is, might we soon develop and answer to another question that apparently not a lot of people are thinking about answering, “What would Jesus Cut?

Thank you, God, for all you continually provide, and thank you, Dan, for serving as a tool in His hands, working for Goodness in God’s own garden…..


John Cooper


Got Peace?

Got Peace?

This past weekend Wink and I traveled up North to family farm and an event my High School class was hosting…  It happened to turn out that a first cousin, once removed of mine on the Hinkle side of my family, Mary Bowers, had died at the age of 91 years and we were able to go to her funeral that Sunday afternoon…. In Salem, Indiana. (Salem means Peace)

We always enjoyed speaking with Mary and would visit her in her home and later in her Assisted Living Facility when we were close to the area.  She was the last living relative who knew a lot about my Hinkle side of the family, excepting Earl Hinkle Jr. who told me he does not know nearly as much as Mary did.  My Grandmother, Florence Hinkle, was her Aunt.  She was a kind and gracious woman….  We have heard her stories, seen and heard her cry, and we shared what each of us knows about our ancestry….  People who know me know of my concern for Peace, Nonviolence, and Social Justice….  I am particularly fond of telling of my Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Hinkle who was a cabinet maker, (in my possession is a chest he made out of Cherry with hand cut dovetails) as I am…  He was also a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the North Salem route, (there was also a South Salem Route) and he would put up runaway slaves in the home he built himself, in which Mary lived as a child, hauling them to the next Underground Railroad stop in his wagon underneath the stacks of loose hay…  I am particularly proud of his concern for Social Justice, and that of the Quaker community on both sides of Salem in those years….  I am not so proud of my Great Grandfather, Calvin Hinkle, who ran away underage at 16 years old to fight in the Union army….

Both my Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Hinkle, and my Great Grandfather, Calvin Hinkle as well as other relatives are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, IN…


You can look them up on the link above, as well as others in the Hinkle and Bowers family….

Now, so is Mary Bowers buried there also…..

I am a Christ Follower and what I believe about Peace is based upon the ethics of Jesus firstly and primarily….  At the funeral I was thinking about the Scripture, about In Him we live and move and have our being….  And, about how the whole world and ALL things, physical and spiritual, was created by and for Him…, meaning Jesus…  I was thinking about how mankind is all, everyone, created in God’s image…

I was thinking about how we are created to function as God designed us, of the Genesis account of creation in functional, not literal scientific terms, and how God desired to rest in His temple on the 7th day, and from a New Covenant perspective how we who believe in Him believe He has come to rest in us also and indwell us….  Also, how He, if one believes that Jesus is God, asks us to come to Him, and He will give us rest….

I won’t bore you with all the Old and New Testament references to support this position and bog this down right now… If you want to know, Let’s talk….

All of the ideas above would take a book to explain, and years to explore, eternity, actually…..

One thing though, when we die, we are at rest, we are at Peace…..  Got that?  Got Peace? Want Peace?

I believe we can get Peace while we are alive also….  Mary had Peace with God while she was alive, and definitely has it now….  There is nothing she can do to fight anymore against flesh and blood, there is nothing people who are flesh and blood can do to fight against her….  She is not at war… She is at Peace…, whatever you may believe, even if you are an atheist….

Mary talked a lot about Jesus… She expressed to me how she wondered why she lived so long and expressed in the same sentence that she did talk a lot about Jesus…., and share her faith with others…  I talk about Jesus a lot, the Prince of Peace… I have even been rejected by some of my friends, even Christian friends, (essentially disfellowshipped, actually) because of my radical beliefs in the Gospel of Peace it seems to me so few Christians can understand in our Post Christian culture….  It is so sad, to me…  I pray a lot about it…

I firmly believe one can get Peace while still alive…  It seems we all get more of it as we age and attempt to bear fruit that will last into eternity… Not just Christians get it…  I have seen Christians of all persuasions get it, I have seen Jewish people get it, I have seen Muslims get it…. I have seen so called Atheists get it…  I really do not think the Spirit of God can be limited in time and space by one’s religion.  He can enter into and give Peace to anyone He wants to….

The Gospel of Peace proclaims God is no longer at war with mankind..  God offers us Peace…. He has already absorbed all Evil into Himself when He died on the cross…. Good has already defeated Evil… The Myth of Redemptive Violence taught us form birth by the Prince of another Power is defeated…. God has entered into His Temple, His rest, His Peace, and offers us the same, if we will only believe…  He will enter into us…

Mary Bowers Believed…

She Got Peace…

Grace AND Peace,

John Cooper


My Brother in a Box

My Brother in a Box

Recent happenings in the Evangelical world and the world as a whole have piqued my thinking to write about my brother, whom the last I knew, was in a box.

I quote from another of my brothers, Joe Cooper, who wrote in his book “Cooper History”, the following:

” If Lawrence Bernice Cooper had any honors, it would be that he sired eleven children.  they are Faith (b. 10/22/1946, d. 11/15/1946), Hope (b. 10/22/1946, d. 10/22/1946 – born dead), John Anthony (b. 1/15/1949), David Allen (b. 7/11/1952), Joseph Ray (b. 4/1/1956), Jannelle [sp] Marie (b. 6/28/1957), Marita Carol (b. 10/31/1960), Angela May (b. 11/26/1962), Paula Florence (b. 7/21/1965), Paul Lawrence (b. 7/21/1965, d. 4/30/1966).  As can be seen, Lawrence and Charity had two sets of twins.  Only one (Paula) survived.  At nine months of age, the lastborn, Paul, contracted quick pneumonia and died in a Terra Haute hospital.  It was an extremely sad time for the family.  Joe remembers how his father sat at his place at the end of the table and cried uncontrollably while he tried to talk to Myrtle Taylor.  Myrtle tried to console him but only time could do that.  Joe remembers Lawrence telling her as he sobbed, “I would rather have lost my whole farm than to have lost Paul.”  Myrtle responded by saying, “Oh now Lawrence, you would not!”  Lawrence thereupon replied, “Oh yes I would!  I would rather have lost my whole farm than to have lost Paul!”  Joe remembers to this day the agony and pain and misery in his father’s face.  It was the only time he saw him cry.

But pain was also felt when his first children were born.  They too were twins.  The date was October 22, 1946.  Charity screamed and yelled at thirty-year-old Lawrence to get her to the hospital.  Dad rushed her to the hospital and in the process collided with a city bus.  Hope was born dead.  Faith lived only three weeks.

But for those children who survived – perhaps that is the measure of Lawrence’s success in the world.  He worked hard in an effort to provide.  Not only did he farm his acreage, he also helped area farmers as a farmhand and grain hauler.  He was also an excellent gardener, raising more than enough for the family.”

I can add a little to that story my brother, Joe, may not know about….  I was the one at about 17 years old who drove my mother and brother, Paul, to the doctor when my mother first realized his sickness was serious.  I remember my father, Lawrence, telling me between the time Paul died and before his funeral, that my father had carried his son, Paul, my brother, out of the hospital that night in a little box.  My dad said in a chocking voice, “that is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life”….  I can remember now, that at my brother Paul’s funeral, it was the saddest thing I had experienced in my life at that time.  It was not an open casket funeral, to my recollection…

The last I remember, my brother Paul was still in that little box……

I think what prompts me to write about this is the virulent disagreement among some Christians concerning Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins”.  In the book Rob Bell offers hope for humanity, that all is not lost, that in the end, Love Wins.  Only a few will “go to hell”  and hell is not permanent, and other such thoughts that to some smack of the label, “Universalism”, perhaps first attributed to the early Christian father, Origen.  The criticism and controversy began even before the critics actually read the book…  The mere thought of the labels “Universalism”, and “Post-Mortem Evangelism”, and other such labels that have been applied to some Christians for centuries, seem to have brought this criticism out quickly.

May I ask, Is Evangelical Christianity locked up cognitively in a box?

Although Love Wins is written from a populist style, not a scholarly genre, can we as Christians, and others who have different belief systems at least imagine that God could even think this way?

Mr. Bell claims in his book that he is not a Universalist, and his reasoning is essentially, as I understand it, that man, given free will, will of necessity have a free will choice to reject God.  The vast majority, however, will be won over by God’s love in the end.

I could write in detail and bring up scriptures that support Mr. Bell’s viewpoints, and well as other scriptures that seem to disagree, but predominately, my viewpoint is the same as Rob Bell’s.

I will only refer to some of the scriptures I am thinking of and quote them from memory to avoid bogging down this article for now:

“As in Adam, all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

“All things in heaven and earth, and under the earth will be put under His feet.”

“At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess”

And, concerning Hell lasting forever, “death and hell will be cast into the grave”

“there shall be no more tears”

There are many, many others…..

I have discussed lately some of these Scriptures with my Evangelical brothers in Christ….  Some of them have said, and will say, “no, that is not what those scriptures mean”  Some have even been provoked by even thinking such thoughts…  Good!

Let’s all, including myself, get our minds out of the box we are in…..  Can we imagine that God might even change His mind, and so to speak reprogram the future, in view of our willingness to think of all the good things He could possibly do, as the God of possibilities?  Can we think of some good news, not bad news?

Can we think of a God who comes to judge, opening up the book of life, and will predominately judge almost everyone, excepting those who reject his goodness, Not Guilty!?

Can we think of this God, who scours the universe, and the those cast into the sea, perhaps the sea of Japan, and those beheaded and the head cast to pigs to eat, the body thrown into the river, the women and men impaled upon a stake, herded into a barn to be set on fire, fed to lions in the Roman Coliseum, or, even my brother, Paul, put into a box and buried before he ever had an opportunity to hear the Gospel (Good News, I might add), and either accept or reject Jesus?  Or, how about those aborted, or born dead?  How about those before the cross?  I am reminded of Isaiah 45, that one of my close Evangelical friends thankfully brought to my attention which also confirms that “every knee will bow and every tongue will swear”….Among other wonderful concepts of the Goodness of God portrayed by the prophet, Isaiah…..

Well, what about my brother, Paul, will he, or won’t he?

Will he be in hell forever?

I was thinking of this quote from C.S. Lewis:

“Do you mean then that Hell – all that infinite empty town – is down in some little crack like this?”


“Yes. All Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World [Heaven]. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste.”


“It seems big enough when you’re in it, Sir.”


“And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that it contains, if rolled up into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed in being bad as good is good. If all Hell’s miseries together entered the consciousness of yon wee yellow bird on the bough there, they would be swallowed up without trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into that Great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule.”

– The Great Divorce


To me, although not exactly the orthodox view of hell after Dante, this seems more like what I believe the Holy Spirit I personally believe I know would think about hell, if hell is not annihilation……  However, not having perfect knowledge, I yield to God’s Truth, whatever it is…

To me, to go to hell must be a choice, and to reject God who loves us must be a choice….  I believe hell is a choice we ourselves make, a choice we choose to live in now, and a choice we choose to inhabit if hell were to last through eternity.

Will the Scriptures be fulfilled by every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that Jesus is Lord, by force?  Or, will it be willing Love for Jesus, our Savior, once we see Him in the light of His glory?  Does Love win?  Or, does it not?

Which is it?

I am not God, and whatever it is, I Love God and believe He is just…

If I had my preference, I would like to see my brother, Paul, out of the box, again….  That would make my father happy too, and wipe away every tear from his eyes, forever….  unless he too is consigned to hell, as some who knew him believe….. (I do not.)  Will a father ever forget the ones he loves?  Will a Father ever forget the ones he loves?

If I had my preference, I would rather see some of my Evangelical Christian friends out of the box, again….  cognitively speaking…

I would like to see the whole world out of the box….  That would make me happy, and I really believe that would make my Father happy too!

For all, who have loved, and lost, let us hope together…  God is Good…


Grace & Peace,

John Cooper




The OMNI Presence of God


The OMNI Presence of God

I think about God a lot… I was thinking the other day about God and my thoughts went to Jesus on the cross…. Many believe Jesus is God, but how can a God who is one, be a God who is Jesus at the same time? This is a question that many may ask…. God in Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a dividing point between Jews and Muslims who are strict monotheists….

The passage I was thinking of in this regard is:

Eph 2:14-22

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.



Many who know me know of my inclinations toward Peace…. I am a part of Circles of Peace (http://tuscaloosacirclesofpeace.blogspot.com/) which is an affiliate of FOR, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest Peace and Nonviolent organization still active in the world today… Perhaps my thoughts went to this passage while I was thinking of God, just because that is the way I am, the way I have become, in my journey with God….

Some would say that we are faced with a problem, or more than one, in this passage…. How can Jesus be our peace? How could Jesus just go around making peace like this, by fiat, so it may seem? How can different peoples become one? And, how can we be a dwelling place for God? For that matter, how can One God be alive and ruling the universe, and dead and be Jesus on the cross at the same time, let alone be the Holy Spirit, and be in us too, all at the same time?

How can two be one?  How can God revealed in three persons (hypostasis) Father, Son, Holy Spirit, be one?

OMNI presence, if you will, a way Greeks like perhaps Aristotle and Plato thought about God… A way of thinking about God that has filtered down into our Western concepts of thinking, although do not really understand it, being in only one place and time at the same time….

The Apostle Paul must have thought some about this matter also…. While speaking to the Greeks, he said:

Acts 17:24-28

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28’For in him we live and move and have our being .’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’


It seems we are all included… Jews, Greeks, Christians, Muslims, Everyman….. Included in the unfathomable love of God, who died for ALL, who wants to bring about Peace, not only vertically with God, but horizontally between all of us who live and move, and breath, and have our being…..

God, being OMNI present, and all of that stuff, can do it… He can be in you, in me, at the same time, otherwise, we would just evaporate into nothingness…

Then, after thinking of these things, I was thinking of how big a sinner once was, and still am, for that matter, just not quite so big as I used to be, maybe….

I used to be mean… I used to love to fight… In my teenage years I began coming to a greater understanding of the Peace and love of God for all mankind and even became a conscientious objector by the time I was 19 or 20, or so… I think one of the roots of my understanding of God came while I was a boy on our family farm in Illinois… I used to take a BB Gun out and just kill birds for the sport of it… I would take a 22 rifle out to hunt rabbits, just for the sport of it… One day while walking beside a field by burbling creek, I spotted a possum and decided to shoot it…. It did not just die all at once, as you see on TV when someone gets shot…. Nothing just dies all at once… Jesus did not die all at once… He suffered… I shot the possum… I shot the

possum several times… It did not die all at once… I thought maybe it was just playing dead and poked it until I was sure it was dead, taking what seemed to me like quite a long time to kill a possum… Now I did not need to kill that possum… I had no intention of eating the possum… I did not need the food… It gets worse…. I examined the dead body of the possum and found a living litter of baby possums in the possum’s pouch… they would also die.. They had no mother… They had no food… I felt really, really, bad… I still feel bad thinking of it. I can tell you today within just a yard or so of where all this happened… I can take you there and show you…. I am sorry… I was bad, very bad…

In time, I began to quit thinking like a boy, and began to think like a man, but these thoughts will always stay with me…

Now, when I think about God, I think about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus… Who, has made peace with me, and with all mankind, and offered God’s forgiveness for all mankind, if we will receive it… Will some be lost? Probably, for this is a matter of a free choice to choose the peace God wants us so desperately to have, not only vertically, with Him, but horizontally, with all tribes and nations… Some may refuse this Goodness, but I believe with all my heart that it will only be a refusal after hearing the Gospel of Peace, and experiences the Peace we have in Jesus… He IS our Peace…. Let us choose Him…

Grace and Peace,

John Cooper