Saturday, December 22, 2007

Never Ending Story

Hebrew 101, 8:00 AM, Professor Lester Kuyper came bounding into the classroom, all smiles and chuckles.

“Students, I have to tell you something,” he said with a face-busting smile. “This morning, I solved a translation issue that I’ve been working on for twenty years” and he proceeded to explain in detail his victory. It was a small thing, but in the history of translation, even the smallest piece is critical.

This memorable moment occurred early in my first year of seminary, and it wasn’t long before we all discovered just how fine a man was Dr. Kuyper with his insatiable love of learning.

We nicknamed him The Student!

“I want to be that kind of a man,” I said to Donna. To honor that pledge, I bought more books than I would ever read, subscribed to journals and professional magazines, attended conferences and did my best to stay current.

April, 2006, I ended 36 years of installed ministry to begin interim ministry. I gave away thousands of books, threw out 40 years worth of sermons, and discarded a four-drawer file cabinet of cross-referenced articles and notes. Donna and I would be traveling light.

But every day, new books appear – younger theologians making their mark, conferences and workshops exploring the kingdom of God, old paradigms giving way to fresh expressions of the faith, a changing world and Presbyterianism rethinking/remaking itself.

Always something new - the infinite love of God never fully understood, the discipleship-life never finally accomplished!

Buildings are finished, but building the heart remains a life-long experience, and then some. Our delight and joy, when we enter eternity, will be as here: a ceaseless discovery of something new. Every day of eternity will be a day of discovery, because God is infinite.

Here on this earth, we anticipate eternity when we survey the world with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, when we read a challenging new book about the Christian life, when we keep the fires of mind and heart alive with good fuel (what we bring) so that the Holy Spirit (the fire and the wind) has something to burn!

The story is never-ending! Stay with it, keep on growing in Christ, expand your boundaries and enlarge your mind with good thoughts, good reading, much prayer and ceaseless appreciation for the life you have.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.