When a group of folks gathered to remember Randy and pray the afternoon before his Celebration of Life service on August 19th, Matthew Burch—a close friend of Randy and VP3—prefaced his thoughts by reading a short excerpt from Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses. Peterson’s observations of a life of faith, shared in the light of Randy’s story, have surfaced over and again over these past several weeks. I share them with you as an invitation and a challenge to live a life alive to God. Peterson writes,
The Bible makes it clear that every time there is a story of faith, it is completely original. God’s creative genius is endless. He never, fatigued and unable to maintain the rigors of creativity, resorts to mass-producing copies. Each life is a fresh canvas on which he uses lines and colors, shades and lights, textures and proportions that he has never used before.
We see what is possible: anyone and everyone is able to live a zestful life that spills out of the stereotyped containers that a sin-inhibited society provides. Such lives fuse spontaneity and purpose and green the desiccated landscape with meaning. And we see how it is possible: by plunging into a life of faith, participating in what God initiates in each life, exploring what God is doing in each event. The persons we meet on the pages of Scripture are remarkable for the intensity with which they live Godwards, the thoroughness in which all the details of their lives are included in God’s word to them, in God’s action in them. It is these persons, who are conscious of participating in what God is saying and doing, who are most human, most alive. These persons are evidence that none of us is required to live “at this poor dying rate” for another day, another hour.
(Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best, IVP 1983)
We serve an infinitely creative and developmental God — “every time there is a life of faith it is completely original.” Lives of holiness and faith offer such variety and uniqueness. “There are no dittos when it comes to souls” (Baron Von Hugel). By contrast lives of sin and depravity are remarkably unoriginal. For example, think how often one hears someone confess that his wealth or her success did not add up to what they had hoped it might. This is such a tired and over-told story in our culture, yet so many of us line up to read this script with the stuff of our lives.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not in the mass production business. One of the most significant verses in Randy’s life was Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” What are those ‘good works’ for you? What is the one-of-kind-life that you are being challenged to embrace and live?
I pray that we might all be alert to this God who creatively weaves together our lives and circumstances and relationships for his purposes and our flourishing as people. May we plunge ourselves into this life of faith, joining in to what God is up to … in us and among us and through us. Spirit, be generous…