Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Twix Bar on the Way Home

My daughter just graduated from high school-- 4 down one to go! The following is abridged from the address I gave during her Baccalaureate service on May 31, 2009...

There are many noble ends upon which to expend the energy of life. For people of faith some make sense, others do not. For people like you, sitting in a religious service, who at least believe in God generally, and in Jesus Christ specifically, those ends must agree with your faith or there will be dissonance in your life.

You must pursue ends which will not cause you to look back with regret. You must pursue ends in such a way that you know all that could have been done to meet your goals was done. You must pursue ends that will not leave you with a gaping sense of emptiness because they were not swallowed up by an overarching awareness of the reality of God.

God is the ballast that steadies and rights our ship in life's rough waters. God is the grid which allows us to see things in their real dimension and to measure those inflationary moments which tend to pop leaving little in their wake. Lest it appear that I'm suggesting that God is the cosmic salt and pepper which adds flavor to everthing in life, let me clarify: God is not a nice accessory to life's ensemble, he's not the spice. He is the substance. He is the main course.

God is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. He can't safely be placed on a shelf to gather dust, we can't pretend he isn't there without risking harm. Even if we become entirely absorbed in our own thing, an aroma will still be wafting through the air that tells our hearts there's someone else bigger and stronger in the room with whom we have to do. We can never be sure he's adopted our agenda rather than his own, so we have no choice but to deal with him, honestly, thoroughly, first and foremost.

If you're a person of faith, pursuing a vision for life and stretching for goals apart from God can only result in a vacuous moment of achievement that ends with you wondering, "Is that all there is?" Pursuing a vision and stretching for goals with God on the sideline looking on can only lead to an abiding uncertainty that has you constantly wondering, "Is this right?" Pursuing a vision of God and stretching toward him is what puts everything else into perspective and leads to peaceful satisfaction as goals are achieved along the way.

So, at this place in life, decide once and for all whether or not you're a "God person." You're here because you are people of faith, so I hope you are a "God person." If so, make Jesus Christ your meat and potatoes. It is the only wise and sensible way of dealing with him. Then let everything else be the twix bar on the way home and you'll find your journey was sweet.