What a great message from Pastor Matt to start off our new sermon series this past Sunday! (See the online version here if you missed it.)

After the challenge to begin remembering our story as humans and as Christians, I found myself thinking about the parts of my story that were given and those that were taken. I am the son of Julian and Anne, and the grandson of Kenny, Pearl, Arnold, and Emma. The fact of my birth was given to me entirely outside of my own choosing. I was born as a citizen of the United States. That privilege is a gift, not something that I attained or acquired. There are many more of these “givens” in my story that have powerfully shaped my understanding of myself and my place in the world. 

There are also parts of my story that I have willingly and willfully taken. I have made impactful decisions, such as marrying the fair LaDonna and becoming father to Chase. I have exercised my power of choice, for good and for ill. I have been occasionally wise and often foolish, and have borne the outcomes in pleasure and in pain.

I sometimes wonder and worry about unnecessary detours along the way. I ask myself, “Am I on ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’?” because of mistakes that I’ve made. (I ask myself instead of asking God because I’m pretty sure God won’t tell me.) But somehow, in a mysterious and grace-filled way, God continues to shape my journey for me, with me, and in spite of me. In the gifts I’ve been given, and despite the wrong roads I’ve taken, God is patiently and gently leading me home.