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End of an Era: Go with God, Rev. George Harper (inoculating #OBL fever with a shot of love)

Everyone in the world today is reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden, and while I will admit to an initial Snoopy dance, by midnight I was feeling kind of uncomfortable about laughing when John Fugelsang tweeted, "I hope no one sits with bin Laden in Hell's cafeteria tomorrow." I appreciated our president's appropriate response. Another great speech goes down in history. People are talking about the end of an era. I don't think bin Laden deserves that much credit. But I'll tell you who does.

Reverend George Harper, who also died last night, had a much quieter but no less profound influence on the world. He was basically the polar opposite of a man whose religion was fueled by hate. His words were always strong, but always about love, from the first time Gary and I attended St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Helena back in 1985, through the baptism of both our kids in '87 and '89, to this sermon George gave at St. Paul's last summer.

From "Walking Temples":
"Between Tea Parties and Beer Parties and oil slicks and lack of jobs our country is in a mess. And everybody, on the political right and left, are shouting that something has to be done. Listen to think that all fairy tales begin "Once upon a time?" No. Many of them start: "if elected, I promise..."

I think the real question everywhere is whether our world is going to be patched up and restored to what it used to be, or whether we are going forward into a new and different kind of life.

I think the time has come in our country when something more than mere repair and restoration of the old is necessary. The old must die and the new must come forth. And we can start by changing what we call "religion."

...Who will be the greatest in this new world? The one who serves. People who serve are walking temples of God, who is Love.

Christ is not waiting for an Armageddon event to come again into human existence; He never left us. As God's Holy Spirit of Love, He is with us now, and always will be, as He promised He would. We touch Him as we serve any person in need. What we do (good or bad) to any one of them, we do to Him, He said.

This is the one universal religion the world needs, any new world that has real human beings in it."
Read the entire text of "Walking Temples" on the St. Paul's website.

Go with God, George. You will be greatly missed and always hugely loved.


Thank you for this post.
Dad Lonnquist said…
And the Rev. Harper sat in everyone of the hundreds of seats in the Carroll College auditorium to raise money for the school. He was a preacher. The Crow Indian Chief Plenty Coups said, "Oh Great Spirit, we seek not riches, we ask only for wisdom. Give the gold to those who lack wisdom."
Aztec Ruler Cuahtemoc put it a different way, "White men have tried to convert me to their religion by telling me that by converting I will go to heaven. If the white men I have know go to heaven I will find more solace in Hell."
George had his own way of expressing it. He spoke the truth. Thanks for the post Joni. Good one!

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