Pick A Card - Rev. Dr. Chris Shorow

When I was in middle school  I saw a performance by a local magician in my hometown named Mr. Mystic.  I was very impressed with all of the tricks he did.  He introduced me to a world of wonder and awe.  How could he do those amazing tricks?  So, naturally, I was thrilled when he opened “Mr. Mystic’s Magic Shop” in downtown Salem.  I immediately went to this mecca of magic and Mr. Mystic himself showed me a couple of great tricks that were very easy to do.  One involved making a ball disappear in a series of cups and another making a card disappear.  Both tricks required no skill—there were secret compartments and marked cards involved.  I loved the tricks and I mystified my friends.  My career in magic was underway!

However, my next trip to the magic shop was not quite as rewarding.  I asked Mr. Mystic to show me more tricks like the ones I had just purchased.  He quickly informed me that those were all of the easy tricks he had.  From here on out I would have to learn the basics of magic and practice.  Practice?  No, I wanted the magic to simply happen.  Turns out it takes work.

I think the same is true in our faith.  It would be nice if the rewards of faith magically appeared, but the truth is it takes practice.  Getting back to the basics of faith involves prayer, study, service, worship and interaction with our Christian brothers and sisters.  Oh, but the rewards of faith are many.  Experiencing the peace of Christ in the midst of stormy weather takes the discipline of prayer—building a relationship with him.  Feeling the joy of reaching out to another often involves stepping out of our comfort zones and encountering others.  Understanding difficult issues in our lives involves studying scripture and listening for God’s voice.  And being present for others in need requires the compassion that comes from Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that I did not spend all of my youth practicing my magic act.  Although it would have been fun, it was not my calling.  Much more rewarding is the reward that comes from practicing my faith.  Feeling God’s presence and experiencing it and sharing it with others reminds me what is most important in my life—loving God and loving neighbors.  The basics.  Now, pick a card, any card…

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