Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Future With Hope...

This morning, as is my habit, I read a short passage of scripture before my 45 minute walk with Scout Labradoodle. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me. - Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NRSV)

So I'm walking the dog, in the dark, enjoying the sensation of temperature less than 95 degrees for the few moments it lasts - and can't help but think about my life back as an 18 year old, when I had no idea about my future other than the fact that I had royally failed school... yet God had this amazing plan in mind for me.

This line of contemplation was brought on by two things. 1) The sheer poetry and beauty of my life right now; I am inordinately blessed... and 2) the arrival yesterday of the alumni magazine from my high school in Folkestone, Kent. In England, however, it's not "Alumni", but "Old Boys"; the magazine is The Old Harveians' Newsletter, produced by The Old Harveians' Association.

So I was thumbing through, and I came across the association's website address. I took a quick look and there, lo and behold, among 8-10 old photographs posted with "Who are these students" as a heading, I found this image from the fall (or, should I say, autumn) of 1973.

No prizes for guessing which long-haired teenager is me! That was a darned good soccer team (or, should I say, football team). We made it all the way to the Kent schools championship match, where we were handed a drubbing by a huge South London school with - I swear - at least a half dozen 21-year-olds on the team!

I played striker for the team, and tended to score a lot of goals. Almost directly in front of me - to the immediate right of the guy holding the ball (our left), is one of my best friends, Geoff Furneaux (Geoff died in a terrible car accident along with three others in the Spring of 1975). Alan Philpot, the P.E. teacher on the back row, was a consistent encouragement when my other teachers were ready to throw in the towel.

So here's the point of today's post. We all have a future with hope - even though we live in this world that is neck deep in greed, and pain, and disappointment, and disillusionment, and all manner of brokenness. Most of the misery is caused by people, determined to advance their own interests over that of their neighbor (that's a simplistic assessment, but it holds up surprisingly well)...

...Yet, I believe with all my heart that God created each one of us to know peace and fulfillment and love and joy. And I trust God's promises, like the one in Jeremiah: For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Add all that together and I sense this huge responsibility to do two things
  • 1) Live in the truth of what I believe.
  • 2) Accept God's mandate that I live this truth in a way that effects positive change in this broken world.
Or, as attributed to Francis of Assisi, "Live the Gospel daily; if necessary, use words."

Peace - and I mean that - DEREK

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