Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I think I know my purpose in life

If anybody is keeping track, I'm two days late writing. It is January 21st, 6:56 pm and COLD! If I had written on Sunday I would have written about a beautiful Alabama Sunday in January. Missed it by two days.

I have had a bit of a hard time focusing on one topic this week. I wanted to write about my progress in Weight Watchers (again) and kind of give a little spin about the pressure that media and society puts on people to look, dress and act in a certain way. I was feeling all irritable and hungry and needed an outlet. Then I started noticing how I judge people. In just a few minutes after thinking about societal pressures, I caught myself wondering why the traffic girl on the news was wearing that shirt. (You know, because I'm a fashion diva.) I saw an old rusty car at the thrift store and I thought, aww bless them, they have to shop at the thrift store (where I was shopping). And the meanest thought, wow, if I had that overbite, I wouldn't even smile. Now, these are unfiltered thoughts drifting through my mind, and I would never, well I hope I would never say these things out loud. But I wonder if everybody has this vicious inner dialogue going on. And I wonder what influences these thoughts? I would guess every movie, book, magazine, article, discussion, friendship, commercial or any other social interaction I havc digested over the past 46 years. I wonder if I can change it? 

But finally I settled on talking about Week 3 of The Next Big thing, my new membership class. This week's session was title "Who Is God?" Easy, right? And as a tool to explain God and define our beliefs in the Christian Church, we started studying the Apostles Creed. According to Luther, the Creed should be used by the head of the family to teach our beliefs. (Remember, he was a Reformer, and wanted to bring the teachings of the Bible to everyone, not just ordained members of the Roman Catholic Church.) So the First Article of the Creed states, "I believe in God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Here is how Luther explained the meaning of this Article.
    " I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.
      He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.
      He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from evil.
      All this he does only out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey him.
      This is most certainly true."

Isn't that beautiful? Only thing is I wanted to know about the people who don't have land, animals, are not safe, are hungry, neglected or scared. So Pastor simply said, it is our duty to use our blessings to bring these blessings to others. 

Ohhhhhhh, it's starting to sink in this thick head. 

Flashback to one of my first study classes at this church. The discussion surrounded the notion that you can't good yourself into heaven. Well, I thought you could. At that time, the point was made that we also had to accept Jesus as our savior and understand that we were unworthy sinners that didn't deserve heaven, but that this guy had died a bloody, awful death for us so that we might see heaven. So I'm thinking, that's it? I've just got to believe that and I can go to heaven? I can worship and thank Jesus for dying for me by being a good person,even though that wasn't contingent on my salvation. Well, it is and isn't. It seemed there should be more.

Alright, back to this week.  I understood that the way to accept Jesus was to share with others my blessings by using my God given talents and gifts in the service of others. And then I had a glimpse of the path I have been led down. I'm a teacher, a servant of students. When I show compassion, love, empathy and understanding to my students and others associated with my profession, I am doing what God wants. Perhaps, through me, others will have the blessings promised in this Creed.  What do you think? 

Luther's Small Catechism. St. Louis: Concordia House, 1991. Print.

(this cite may not be perfect, I would have had to drag out the ole APA manual and look up every exception to get this one right. If you are interested in more information, visit these websites:


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