Finding home, living forever

Do you want to your faith to matter? Matter both to you and to the world? Do you want your life to be full, meaningful, deep, resonant, beautiful, everlasting?

jesus reading

I asked this in my Jan. 27 sermon. I said that to answer those questions in the affirmative means making Jesus’ way our home. What is Jesus’ way? He declared it himself in his first public speech according to Luke’s Gospel. Reading from Isaiah 61 (though interpreting it to best reflect the Way he embodied), Jesus said:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed to free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19

Want your faith to matter and your life to be everlasting? Then make this way of Jesus your home. Take Jesus mission statement, his thesis, this synopsis of his life’s purpose and work, take this and make it your mission statement, your thesis. Make it your life’s purpose.

That day I shared a poem written in response to that scripture. I often find I’m too dense to get most poetry, but this is too beautiful not to share.

A Prophet’s Blessing by Jan L. Richardson
This blessing finds its way behind the bars.

This blessing works its way beneath the chains.

This blessing knows its way through a broken heart.

This blessing makes a way where there is none.

Where there is no light, this blessing.

Where there is no hope, this blessing.

Where there is no peace, this blessing.

Where there is nothing left, this blessing.

In the presence of hate.

In the absence of love.

In the torment of pain.

In the grip of fear.

To the one in need.

To the one in the cell.

To the one in the dark.

To the one in despair.

Let this blessing come as bread.

Let this blessing come as release.

Let this blessing come as sight.

Let this blessing come as freedom.

Let this blessing come.

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May this blessing, this way of abundant, meaningful, everlasting life – this home – spring forth into life in and through me, in and through you, in and through us.

Wisdom speaking?

Some time ago I was given a hand-written note on an obviously oft-folded piece of paper. The giver, Vi, is one of the sweetest women you could ever hope to meet. She passed her 90th birthday several years ago but continues to be an active part of our church. The note was meant for our young people as we were confirming a new group of teenagers at the time. I remember reading it and thinking it was good and genuine and sweet, just like the one who gave it.

And then, I lost the note. Or forgot about it. Or both.

But in the midst of cleaning out a drawer the other day…what once was lost, now was found!

Certainly the ideas in this Teen Creed are familiar enough that Vi wasn’t the original author of every line. But it was she who complied this – by hand! – and passed it along. Thank you, Vi, for sharing your wisdom. I share it for the edification of us all!

Teen Creed

Don’t let your parents down; they are bringing you up.

Be humble enough to obey; you may give orders someday.

Always be careful when you drive; drive with safety and arrive.

Be master of your habits or they will master you.

Think uplifting thoughts; what you think, you are.

Read good books, and don’t forget “the” Book.

Choose companions with care; you become what they are.

Don’t let the crowd tell you it’s the “in” thing; stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

Treat your date and yourself with respect; you will never be sorry.

Get in the habit of talking with God, the payoff is out of this world!

UPDATE: (how did I forget this part earlier? No idea)

Now, how about you?

What advise, what words of wisdom, would you share?

What do you wish someone had said to you or, perhaps better, shown you when you were a teen?