Faith: License plate theology

Sate of Massachusetts vanity license plate reading "SIRMEN" (sermon).

Several years ago when I lived in the Twin Cities, I was driving home from work and a silver Corvette passed me. As I approached the next stoplight I noticed his vanity license plate read, "SUCKS 2B U ."

After I got over my initial double take (“does it really say that?”), I began to reflect on my life as I continued driving. Does it suck to be me? Truth is, after the encounter at the stoplight, this question plagued my thoughts for the next couple of months. Over and over, I would respond to that statement by saying, “No, it doesn’t suck to be me.”

Is my life perfect? No. Do I have wants? Yes. But does my life suck?

Then, about three months later on my drive home from work, I found myself behind another car with a vanity plate. This one read, "U R OK 2." Nothing like a little license plate theology during my commute to get me thinking!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." (John 3:16)


What I find comforting in this passage is that as much as I want or think that I am in control, it is actually God who is in control. Indeed God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. God gives us a free gift - his only begotten son - to transform the world and our hearts so that the relationship that we have here with Jesus does not end when we die, but continues on in paradise.

In a world where the snakes are still biting at our heels, we look around and ask ourselves, “Where is the good news?” Or we look around at what’s going on the world - the hate, mistrust, hopelessness, war and fear - and we ask ourselves, “Where do we turn to Where is our hope to come from?” "There has to be something more, or does it suck to be us?”

The truth is this: It is good to be us because God so loved the world that he was willing to let his only Son die on the cross for our sins, the last barrier between God and us. God tells us that "U R OK 2" when Jesus tells us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

In the midst of the turmoil, God has heard the pleas from the people of the world and has given us a savior, Jesus Christ. My friends, this is the good news for today and the response to the license plate statement, "SUCKS 2B U."

It is Jesus who showed us how to love and to live with each other. Jesus did not remove conflict, but showed us how to work through it. Jesus did not end poverty, but showed us how to share from the blessings that we have received from God to help those who are in need of help. Jesus did not remove sickness, but showed us how to heal. Jesus did not remove death, but gave us the promise of the resurrection - and all that we need to do is to believe.

So this is what we need to remember: Today God looks down with us with love and compassion and tells us, "U R OK 2." We no longer need to worry about death, punishment or the snakes biting at our heels. Through our relationship with Jesus Christ we are told and reminded each and every day that we are loved, forgiven and strengthened for a new day.

All that God asks from us is to believe, and know that in His eyes "U R OK 2."

Drew Bakken is pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

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