On our recent trip to Norway to celebrate, among other things, Tim's 70th birthday, we had occasion to attend several interdenominational church services on board our ship. Led by the ship's captain, the services would be familiar to long-time Emmanuel members as Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. The services always concluded with the congregation singing Eternal Father, Strong to Save.
At one of the services the captain shared the following meditation, entitled "An Interview with God":
I dreamed I had an interview with God. "Come in" God said. "So, you would like to interview me." "If you have time," I said. God smiled and said, "My time is eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have in mind to ask me?"
"What surprises you most about [humankind]?"
God answered. "That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present such that they live neither for the present nor the future. They live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived. . . ."
God's hands took mine and we were silent for a while. Then I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"
God replied with a smile: "To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but whom they have in their lives. To learn that is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their merits, not as a group on a comparison basis. To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is then who needs the least. To learn that it takes only a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that money can buy everything but happiness. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them. . . and loves them anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they are forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves."
I sat there a while enjoying the moment. I thanked God for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, "Anytime, I am here 24 hours in a day. All you have to do is ask me and I will answer."
Something to think about as we begin a new season at Emmanuel.