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Effect without cause comes up shy of grace

Pastor Mark Holmes

“Are you going with?”

This common question was quite uncommon to me when I first moved to Superior. Being from Pennsylvania, I was accustomed to including an object in a sentence like, “Are you going with me?” But objects seem unnecessary in the frozen north of the “pronoun challenged.” We just assume objects will be provided from the context of the conversation.

A more widely used phrase suffers a similar lack of completion: “Things happen.”

Technically, it is a sentence, but it lacks the clarification of cause. Things happen when I fail to do something or when I do. Things happen when I am careless or careful, when I plan for it or least expect it. Things do not just happen; they are caused.

Aaron tried to promote this non-causal idea at the foot of Mt. Sinai when he made the golden calf. He told Moses he put the gold into the fire and a calf came out (Ex. 32:24). Calves happen! Forget the fact that he molded and formed the metal into shape (Ex. 32:4).

I fear there is a bit of Aaron in all of us. We seem willing to admit to an outcome but deny our participation. It is less condemning to tell God, “Things happen.” However, we know that our world works through cause and effect, and we are often the cause that produces the effects.

Leaving out pronouns may be incorrect grammar, but denying responsibility for our actions leaves us a word or two short of God’s grace.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.