By Lisa Huddleston
Last Sunday we at The Village Chapel enjoyed a sermon delivered by Gilbert Lennox, the father of fellow-TVCer Kristyn Getty, one half of the current-day hymn writing team, The Gettys. Pastor Lennox is a warm, gentle man who chose 1 Peter 1:1-12 for his text and spoke of hope in the future, present, and past. A perfect topic for the New Year with encouragement to trust in the future of the Living Hope, rejoice in our present faith, and remember the history of God’s unfolding revelation in our world. Very uplifting. Very pleasant. And very honest.
Pastor Lennox shared gorgeous photographs from his home in Northern Ireland–scenes that were too beautiful to be believed. Trees with intertwining roots and branches. Skies with richly painted sunsets. Seafoamed and curved beach hugging the rocky island coast. And he spoke of the decline of the church in his part of the country which he called, “The Bible-belt of Ireland.” Although he spoke of hope with obvious sincerity, I typically focused on the more melancholy parts of his sermon.
Prone to taking notes throughout any talk and even to writing in margins of books I read, I naturally wrote curiosities that struck me alongside of the actual points of his sermon. One phrase particularly stuck, and it is that image that has continued to roll around in my head. As he spoke of our sure expectation for a Living Hope with Jesus Christ, the pastor reminded us that such a surety does not exist in our self-directed goals. And then in reference to one of the rich sunsets in his lovely Ireland, he said, “And then the color drains from the sky.”
Yes! That was the phrase that grabbed me so. Always the color drains away! I have tried to make my way in the world with passion. At times I have been so steeped in it that I nearly lost myself. And those have been good times. As long as the excitement exists, the color remains. But once I master the lesson or reach the goal or even get a slightly closer understanding of the mystery (whatever the passion is), I realize that it too has faded into gray.
At this time of year in the past I have been found making lists of resolutions, choosing a “word for the year,” or setting goals that have clear, obtainable steps. This year I find myself blank. I could follow through on the MLAS program I’ve applied to, but why do I want to keep getting degrees? I could set a lofty goal like writing a book or running a marathon. But why? Aren’t those things just trying to put rouge on the gray cheeks of the truth? A spoiled dilettante trying to fill her days and hours with “meaning?” And the color drains.
More of You, Lord. Less of me. My Living Hope in 2013 and forever. And tomorrow is Monday morning.*
*C.S. Lewis, “Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning.”