Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My life verse

This is a thing, apparently. No one in my peer group growing up had this as a thing, and if my parents or their friends did, they never talked about it, but a fair number of Christians apparently choose a "life verse" - one verse out of the thousands that they find most important, most informative to them, of what they ought to do or ought to think.

I'll be honest, I don't quite get it. I mean, I appreciate breaking things down into pieces - I like Lego as much as, if not more, than the next dad - but I don't quite understand picking just one verse. Over the years, I've had a few responses.

When I was a teenager, and a smart-mouthed one, at that, my response was usually, "Ezekiel 23:20." If you're not familiar with that verse, do NOT look it up. Seriously, don't. You might giggle, you might be horribly offended, regardless, just remember that it was the smart-mouthed teenage me that said that.

If I was being sincere, though, I would say, "And so, as we go into this world, let us hold on to what is good, honour all men, strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering, share the gospel, love and serve our Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all." When asked for a citation, I'd point them at my church's senior pastor, Ron Gannett. It's not a Bible verse, at least not really. It's a compilation of bits of various Bible verses put together in a particular order that I found - still find - useful.

Most particularly, I like that, "share the gospel" comes after strengthening the faint-hearted and supporting the weak. While I do share the gospel, in the sense of telling people about the lover and joy that comes with knowing the Father and the sacrifice of His Son, I know for myself that almost all of the things that have changed my life haven't coming from reading something or being told about something, but have come from seeing it acted out.

Talking is good. Words are good. Actions are better.

Anyway, it's a good little homily, but it's not a verse, and so apparently doesn't count. Next on my list: the book of James. The whole thing. Seriously, I once worked that up as a spoken word performance and used a portion of it as an audition piece and it is amazing. Like Shakespeare, I think James need to be spoken aloud to really get it. There's so much passion in the words that I think gets missed when you just read it.

Still, doesn't count, I know.

So, I picked one. Oddly, it's something that I thought was just a popular homily in Christianity: do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God?

Well, it actually doesn't show up quite like that, as it turns out. Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

So, there it is.

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