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Measuring My Days

September 2009
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“What if the meaning to which God calls us all in our labors and avocations, our world and neighborhood, our family and friendships, is to reflect there however imperfectly something of the light, the spirit present in Jesus, present in the towering figures who have embodied that spirit over the centuries.  What if the purpose of our days is to mirror His ways in what we say and do?  Ought that not be enough to busy us until we depart?”   Gilbert Bowen, in a sermon “Functional Atheism”.

 

Would I continue these journal pages once I had moved away from Chalet L’Abri?  That was the question several people had asked me when they heard that I would be moving.  So my answer is Yes…because sharing my thoughts in this venue seems to have become an essential part of who I am, like a choice between life and death.  Gilbert Bowen in a sermon he titled “Deciding to Live” comments:  What a strange thing to say – choose life!  Isn’t life automatic, a given…How is it possible to talk about choosing life?  How is it possible to say I will live only if I make a deliberate choice today? ….But is this finally a matter of  choice?  This old faith insists that it is.  Because a life of spirit and enthusiasm, a life of intensity and vitality, comes only as we make certain kinds of choices, decide for a certain way of being in the world.  But, let’s face it.  This runs counter to a pervasive view of life out there that does not believe we have any such free choice.  This view, in one mix or the other, attributes our life, what we are and what we can do, to forces quite beyond our control.  It is as if to say “We are in no way free to choose who we shall be and who we shall become.”

            I have been helped these recent days as I have been engrossed in Solomon’s Proverbs, a how to book on learning to wise up and Live. (with a capitol L).   It begins by defining wisdom as “the fear of the Lord.”  Once you get the right mindset of reverence and awe of your Creator, you’ve taken a giant step toward wisdom.  You then learn that so much else falls into place.  You see your world through the lens of the One whom the apostle Paul defined as wisdom Himself personified  -- Jesus Christ.  Your world becomes alive like never before.  Antagonists to the old faith you’ve held on to all these years seem pathetically living in a backwater of their own pessimism and unbelief.  These words in a framed parchment in Ravi Zacharias’ office speak further truth for me:  "Jesus Christ continually contradicts us in the way we experience ourselves as alive. He compels us to radically redefine what it is we mean by life. He encounters us the way He encounters the disciples on Easter Sunday. They, the disciples, were the ones marked out for death, those that had survived Him were really the dead; Jesus, the dead one, was really the living. “

          An even more helpful word for me comes from David Timm’s book Living the Lord’s Prayer.  The Old Book is not about me, but about Him whose history  -- His Story – is recorded for our enlightenment and should be read with that mindset.  Timms writes:  “The Bible is not a therapy textbook.  It reveals God’s story and relentlessly asserts that the main character of history is Christ.  The Old Testament points to Him…The New Testament reveals and explains Him.,,Self-help books abound.  We don’t need another text to dispense common sense (though the Proverbs are chuck full of common sense).  We do, however, need a divine Word that opens our eyes to the cosmos and the extraordinary mystery of the Father – who He is, what He is doing, why He does it, and where He’s taking it all.”

 

“What if the meaning to which God calls us all in our labors and avocations, our world and neighborhood, our family and friendships, is to reflect there however imperfectly something of the light, the spirit present in Jesus, present in the towering figures who have embodied that spirit over the centuries.  What if the purpose of our days is to mirror His ways in what we say and do?  Ought that not be enough to busy us until we depart?”   Gilbert Bowen, in a sermon “Functional Atheism”.