A LIVING HOPE
The Prairies can be a lonely place, but it was especially so for Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant who moved to Saskatchewan over 100 years ago. He’d walked 600 miles from Minnesota, where his family waited for him to later return and get them. Seven years later he did, but his wife had passed away and all his children had been placed in foster homes. Alone, he returned to his homestead near the South Saskatchewan River. He dreamed of returning to Finland and, having been trained as a shipbuilder, decided to build a sea-going vessel he could sail up the river to Hudson’s Bay, then across the Atlantic. The Great Depression hit, and at great sacrifice, he managed to build his craft in sections, moving each by himself 17 miles to the river. The heaviest piece needed help, and no one would lend a hand. He sank into depression, especially after vandals stole some of the metal parts. Institutionalized in a hospital, he died in 1943. Decades later, the community organized a museum and Tom’s ship is the crowning piece. You can visit it today, just southwest of Moose Jaw.
Sukanen’s sad story teaches us many things, but one thing stands out: the futility of unreasonable hopes. While we all would wish for Tom’s success, there were just too many obstacles. It’s different with the hope that every Christian carries in his heart – to live again after death and enter heaven. Peter put it this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) He emphasized that it is A LIVING HOPE. It’s not an impossible, and therefore unreasonable hope. Jesus Himself rose again, demonstrating forever that the coming resurrection will indeed take place. Our hope is real, and it will not fail.
– Tim Johnson
Last week it was reported in the news that Mark Lewisohn, a British author, is writing a 3-volume set of books about the Beatles. This was met with great interest by Beatles fans because Mr. Lewishon is a trusted friend of the remaining members of the band. He said that most books about them are not well written, and he wants to write something more definitive and exact. What I found interesting are his thoughts about accuracy in writing such a set of books. “I think it’s an important book to write. I think it’s important that it’s done now whilst the paperwork is still around and whilst the witnesses to the history are still alive to tell it.”
The writers of the New Testament also took pains to be accurate and to consult with living witnesses of the things Jesus said and did. Luke explained his own methods in Luke 1:1-4. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order…” Luke did careful research, consulted with living witnesses who knew their memories were important, and to write it out accurately.
In addition, the 12 apostles were all official witnesses of the resurrected Christ, and they had unique memories that contributed to the writing of the New Testament. John spoke of “what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). Witnesses are vital to accurate authorship, and the inspired writers of the Bible consulted with many of them while they were still alive.
If people recognize the value of living witnesses to a historic band like the Beatles, we should feel even greater confidence about the carefully-written accounts of Jesus Christ.
– Tim Johnson