Friday, October 9, 2009

Be Something You Love…

Remember the 1994 movie Forrest Gump? Great movie (and great soundtrack!). I love how it turns one simple man’s story into an epic adventure. Call it an uninhibited celebration of ordinary life. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. We can watch it together!

The main character, Forrest, though he grew up with leg braces, is quite the runner. He played football at Alabama University because of his speed. He used his running talent to save people in Vietnam. And one day, near the movie’s end, he bumps into the woman he’s loved since childhood, Jenny (pronounced J-eh-eh-knee). Long story short, she breaks his heart. Simple man that he is, Forrest takes a run. And he runs. And he runs.

And he runs.

All across the country.

And back.

And back again.

And he keeps running.

He doesn’t stop for “three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours.” During that time, he unintentionally inspires a HUGE following. It begins with one guy thinking this running-across-America thing is quite groovy. More join in, and more still; all following Forrest, mile after mile. Until, in the middle of what looks like New Mexico, Forrest stops running. “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now,” he says, as he walks through his followers, parting down the center like the Red Sea. Someone yells, “Now what’re we supposed to do?” Forrest says nothing. He just goes home.

It’s funny what inspires us, amen? I once heard a guy interviewed who grew up loving electronics. For some unknown reason, he decided to learn all about pay phones, eventually figuring out how to make long distance calls on them for free. So he called…the Pope, pretending to be Harry Kissinger. The Pontiff’s personal assistant figured out the ruse after thirty minutes, but the guy wasn’t deterred. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computers, and makes a decent living. All because, randomly, he was inspired by electronics.

Inspiration has made its way into recent sermons and letters; maybe you’ve noticed. It’s been on my mind, and that’s because I think Christian living should be inspired living- living with purpose and mission. What that looks like for each of us isn’t always clear, especially when life goes through changes. But I don’t think we should ever give up searching for that little something that inspires us.

Unlike the runners of Forrest Gump, though, Christian inspiration has a distinct purpose. Jesus described it in Matthew 23:37-40, “Love the LORD your God…and love your neighbor as yourself.” But Jesus isn’t Forrest, running away from the past to put the pain behind him. Jesus leads us toward something- namely, the Reign of God, where unconditional, overwhelming love rule the day every day. As his followers, we run after him toward this glorious Reign, both receiving divine love in fuller measure every step, and sharing it with everyone we pass, inviting them to join in.

Every year, running inspires Plymouth Creekers to follow Jesus and love our neighbors. Walking actually, but close enough. I mean the annual CROP Walk, of course, or what I often call the Plymouth Creek Victory Celebration (since we’re always the top fundraiser!). I’m not exactly sure why CROP Walk, which fights hunger from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth, inspires us so much, but it does. Other things inspire us to pursue God’s Reign too, of course, but the CROP Walk’s worth mentioning because it’s this Sunday, October 11, when, as in years past, we’ll walk/jog/run after our Lord on a mission. If you’re walking, thanks for getting inspired. If you’re not, thanks for your support. Walking may be simple stuff, but that’s how the Reign of God happens- God’s overwhelming love inspires ordinary life. May this walk help you live inspired. In all things,

Grace and Peace,


PS- If you still want to support our walking, go to the Church World Service Web Site. Click “Find Your Walk”, look for the MN NW Suburbs walk and click donate (or just follow this link). Search for team “Plymouth Creek.” And viola!

PPS- If you have family/friends who might want to help, pass along this letter. Thanks to all!