Can we mail a dart to Rome?

A little child shall lead them.

A little child shall lead them.

With all the changes in our nation because of Homeland Security, I am wondering if I will have trouble mailing a dart to Rome this week.
Much of the world has transfixed on the office of the Papacy in light of the retirement of Pope Benedict the XVI and subsequent conclave beginning this week to select a new Pope. With every mention of these events has come speculation about who this could be. Because so many inquiring minds want to know, the Vatican has installed a false floor in the Sistine chapel under which will be jamming equipment to shut out outside interference so that the selection process may be more an act of the Holy Spirit rather than human device.
It was this very need to take into account the weakness, subjectivity and potential for the abuse of power which caused those first disciples, including the first pope, Peter, to draw straws to determine which of two qualified candidates would replace Judas Iscariot as the 12th Apostle. In the Old Testament a similar device was employed in order to preclude human frailties in making decisions which should only be made by God Himself. This first appears in Exodus 28:30 where two devices known as Urim and Thummim were mentioned. Though we don’t really know what they were or how they were used, we believe they were used in some way to seek to determine God’s will on a particular matter.
While measures have been taken to protect the 115 Cardinals gathered in Rome from the outside world influencing or determining the selection of the Pope, this method does not protect that decision from the outside influence that resides within the mind and heart of each of these very human Cardinals.
All of us are prone to the same weaknesses and easily see the “splinter” in another’s eye while missing entirely the “log” in our own. Every organization and religious body deals with the same dynamics arising from our fallen human condition. Cardinals, pastors, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Republicans, Democrats, Americans or Russians we are all alike on the inside.
Now back to the dart. Here is my proposal. Acquire a dart board, say 4′-6′ in diameter and place it on the wall of the Sistine chapel. Place on that dart board the pictures of each of the 115 Cardinals. After this task is completed, open the front doors and find the first child who looks old enough to hold, aim and release this dart (taking measures to protect the priceless works which might be damaged by an errant throw!). Blindfold that child and point them in the direction of the board an appropriate distance away. Whomsoever’s picture they hit becomes pope!
The problem with this approach is that it removes power, politics and human partiality from the decision making process. We want God’s will for our lives … within reason. And that is the problem. Our problem is not knowing God’s will. God earnestly wants for us to know His will, plan and purpose for our lives. God’s plan for our lives will ultimately bring the greatest possible satisfaction. Why won’t we let go of our own plan and embrace the exciting adventure into the unknown God has planned.



Over and over we have heard, “Why!” perhaps more as an exclamation than as a question. Why did a 20 year old kill his mother in cold blood and then proceed to kill twenty children and the adults who cared for them? What turns a rather anonymous young man into an instantly infamous killer?
The world we see is the temporary world for it will end. The world we do not see, the world of the spirit is the permanent world for it preceded all we see and will exist after all we see is gone. In the same way that we cannot understand the lights in the sky and the paths they take at night without understanding the celestial world, we cannot understand much that takes place in this physical world without understanding the spiritual one. Hence, we must be students of Scripture, quick to prayer and humble in obedience in order to begin to understand these things. It is at this point that those whose lives are lived apart from the world of the spirit come up empty.
The truth is that our world is fallen and infected through and through by sin, our desire to live apart from God. The nature of sin is, in some ways, like a virus which lies dormant in the human system. Much time pay pass in which thought it is present, symptoms are virtually absent. This may be because of medication, time, age, circumstances or some unknown.
In our country we are able to keep some of the most catastrophic effects of sin at bay by means of law enforcement, our military, our money, our location, walls, borders, government, etc. When we have periods of relative peace we may think that the virus has been licked! But it has not been. It is still present and active. In much of the world and in many segments of our society the effects of sin are much more apparent. Newtown, CT by all accounts has been a good place to live. People are prosperous, well educated and caring. It is possible in such a peaceful setting to forget some of the symptoms of this virus we call sin. For whatever the reason (s), one of the more violent symptoms of sin emerged Friday, December 14th.
Jesus was asked once (Luke 13:1) if certain people were worse than others because of catastrophic events in their lives. His answer was sobering. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish!” Jesus is saying that we live in a world affected deeply by sin and we are all more threatened by that world than we would care to think. Those asking the question wanted an answer to their question, “Why?” which would allow them to grasp the situation and control their destiny. Jesus’ answer reaffirmed much of what He taught about the uncertainty of this life, this world and all that is in it.
Perhaps a better question might be, “Because the virus of sin is throughout our society and our world, why do these terrible things not happen more often than they do?”