Meeting God at the Sandbox

locomocoburger

The McDonald’s Locomocoburger.  I gotta go to Tokyo and try one of these.

I hate to admit this.  I mean, I really hate to admit this.  I almost feel like a sinner in the confessional booth on this one.  But… it’s time to come clean.

Fess up.

Let the world know.

After all, in the words of fellow sinner Martin Luther, “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”

OK.  Here goes…

(Closes eyes and draws in deep breath.)

I like McDonald’s.

There.  I said it.  It’s out in the open.

It’s not that I grew up on their food.  I can only remember eating at a McDonald’s once as a small child.  And I didn’t like the finely chopped onions on my burger.

I was a Burger Chef kid.  In the small town I grew up in, the choices for fast food fare were few and far between.  KFC.  Long John Silver’s.  Burger Chef.

And Jeff, the big man’s sidekick.

Burger Chef had the Works Bar.  You ordered your burger and fixed it up however you liked.  I’d get a cheeseburger and put tartar sauce on it.  (Yes, this is the same kid who had an issue with the teensy-tiny onions on a McDonald’s burger.)

I was very sad to see Hardee’s eat up Burger Chef in the ’80s.  But that’s another story.

When we were in China, we ate at a McDonald’s.  Their menu isn’t quite the same as McDonald’s in the U.S.  There were plenty of exclusively Chinese McDonald’s items to be had.  However, my jones for some American food far outweighed my adventurous spirit at that point in our trip.

I ordered a Big Mac (without vegetables – no sense taking chances of getting sick on raw lettuce).  We ate a lot of “western” food while we were in China.  That Big Mac only thing I ate in China that tasted just like it tastes here at home.

I’ve been looking at some international McDonald’s websites.  First I pulled up McDonald’s India, which has a lot of creatively different options (which makes perfect sense when you’re a burger restaurant in a non-beef eating society).

Then I checked out McDonald’s Japan.  The website was in Japanese (of course), so I had to use Microsoft Translator to read it in English.  As I looked at their menu I saw the “Locomocoburger”.  It is described as:

たまごと2枚のビーフパティを粉チーズトッピングのバンズでサンド。

When I translated the page, it gave me this:

“Two beef patties with egg powder cheese topping buns at sandbox.”

This description is a bit off the mark.  I looked at a photo of the Locomocoburger and saw no traces of powder.  No sandbox.  It’s two hamburger patties, a slice of cheese, a McMuffin-style egg, lettuce and some Japanese sauce on a bun.

It actually looks quite good.  If I’m ever at a McDonald’s in Japan, I’ll give it a try.

McDonald’s is great at adapting itself to local cultures.  This started me thinking about how we approach Scripture, and just how amazing the Bible truly is.

Consider these facts:

  1. The 66 books that make up the Protestant Bible were written by over 40 different people.
  2. The people penned their books over the span of at least 1400 years (perhaps longer).
  3. These men came from many, varied backgrounds: kings, prophets, wise men, wise men who lost it all, prisoners, a tax collector, a physician, fishermen, a former Pharisee…
  4. These men came from different cultures, different historical epochs.
  5. The books are written in several different styles (history, prophecy, poetry, letters, eyewitness accounts, collections of wise sayings).

All of these factors and still – astoundingly – the books of the Bible work as a whole, one cohesive narrative, sound and without error of message.

This is “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV).  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

The Bible isn’t just a book.  It is God’s Word to His people.   It adapts to different cultures and stands up to multiple translations (over 500 languages thus far) and paraphrases.  While differences in interpretation abound, and theological approaches reveal different facets of the message, this doesn’t create a problem with the Bible itself.  Indeed, it is like viewing a precious stone and the different characteristics we see when we turn it.

The thing is, you have to take God at His Word, and take God’s Word for what it is.  Don’t just accept someone’s evaluation of what the Bible says as gospel.  Read it!  Eating a burger with powdered egg cheese (whatever that is) served in a sandbox doesn’t sound very appealing.  But, when we you realize the description is waaaay off and you see the real thing…

God meets each of us where we are.  We may be in captivity or wandering the desert.  We may be in battle or just traveling along the road.  We may be in the midst of dark times, on the mountaintop or deep in the valley of death.  Wherever we are, wherever we go, the Lord goes with us.  And His Word is just as relevant, no matter what, no matter where.

Be comforted by that today.  Be strengthened by knowing that the Bible is living, active, vital, relevant, true, God-breathed Word of our Lord.  Trust in the Lord.  Rest in His promises.  Know that what His Word says is true, and right, and applicable to you and your life and your situation.  And God will speak to you through His Word (or however He chooses) wherever you are.

Even at the sandbox.

 

 

 

 

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