St. John's Lutheran


100 St. John's Church Road
Concord, N.C.


Established 1745

A Message from Rev. Dr. Mark J. Ericson


Astronaut John Glenn broadcasted the following words from the Space Shuttle on November 1, 1998.  “I don’t think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and see the earth from this vantage point, to look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God.  To me, it’s impossible – it just strengthens my faith.  I wish there were words to describe what it’s like….truly awesome.” 

“Awesome” is a word that has become a ‘fad’ – “This is awesome.” “That is awesome.” – as if “awesome” is far too common.  One of the purposes of a cathedral is to provide for the worshiper a physical metaphor of the awesomeness of God.  I have had people say to me that he or she simply could not worship in a cathedral.  My answer to that is it is just like a medical doctor…sometimes you simply have to go for a checkup.  Sometimes it is good to worship in a cathedral for a spiritual checkup in realizing that God is not always “my buddy”, as some modern day congregations emphasize.  There is a place in faith for God being Emmanuel (God with us through Jesus); but there is equally the need to have a spiritual balance by acknowledging the awesomeness (vastness) of God.  The risk we run with God being “our buddy” all the time is that He becomes available on our terms.  Also, we are much less likely to bend a knee (kneel) before “our buddy”; as is evidenced in many modern places of worship.  John Glenn had a cathedral experience in outer space.

Astronaut James Irwin spoke about God’s creation.  “The earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space.  As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size.  Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine.  That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart.  Seeing this has to change a man (person), has to make a man (person) appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.”  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1: 1-2).  The entire first chapter of Genesis describes a God who is so AWESOME that the only way to begin to relate to Him is by our imaginations in faith.  We cannot reduce the God of Genesis to the buddy; not even an awesome (notice the small ‘a’) buddy.  Instead, as James Irwin states this is the God of creation and of love.  It is this God who takes our fragile world and empowers us into eternity. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Pastor Mark