Monday, July 20, 2009

The Meaning of Life?

I had a great lunch experience today. If you want a way to stimulate your thinking cap on a summer Monday, have lunch with a bright college student. They have great questions! My lunch guest and I talked about faith and truth and life. In particular, we talked about what gives life meaning. Indeed, does life have meaning? My friend suggested that life is given meaning by what each person does...we give our own lives meaning. But, after we explored that idea we came to see that there needs to be some objective, outside source which gives our lives value and meaning. If we each give our own lives meaning, then I cannot judge the actions of a person as good or bad. But, we concluded, there must be some objective way of knowing good and evil; of judging whether some conduct, e.g. murder, is bad, and other conduct, e.g. saving a life, is good.

In the end, surprisingly, we came to see that the meaning of life comes in helping others see the value in their own lives, and in directing ourselves and others to "good living." This reminded me of Jesus' command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." This Truth is heard so often that it risks being tuned out by its hearers. But, when you engage in an hour long discussion that wanders through all kinds of questions about life, it feels good to come back home to the Truth that Jesus teaches.

How do we know life has meaning? By seeing the Good that is brought when we practice God's love toward our neighbor. What will give my life meaning? Serving God by loving God and my neighbor.So simple it seems almost trite to write it. So profound that it took an hour of lively discussion to find it.

Our discussion went on to explore how we know we are God's child; how we are drawn by God's love as he chases us until we are captured by God's grace; why I treasure our Reformed theology. In the end, we settled little. But we decided it would be good to meet again, and to this time invite some other questioners. It will be great! But I had better carve out more time for lunch that day!Go talk to a young person today, and let them ask lots of questions. Help them live the questions.

Don't worry about having the right answers....because sometimes that is not the point. People searching the faith need lots of space to ask live questions. Be sure to leave room for the Holy Spirit to give direction. And then enjoy the searching of young minds. You will be blessed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Holiness of God

God is Holy. We are called to be Holy. And of course, we cannot be fully Holy...yet. We can be set apart, if that is one definition of holiness. We can be sanctified, a process of becoming Holy. But how can it be that we can be in the presence of a Holy God? This has been a quest for understanding for the earliest of human beings until today, and so it will be until Jesus the Christ returns.

I am not worthy of being in God's presence, and yet He draws me there. And it is in His presence that I know I am a child of God.

This religion we practice can only be understood as Mystery. And in the midst of the Mystery, in the depths of our longing, God reaches out with His Spirit to draw us into His inacessible Light. "The Unbearable Lightness of Being."

How shall I come to understand God and my relationship to Him? By being. By being in His Light. Remove these coals from my lips. Here am I, send me.