While riding Portland's Aerial Tram yesterday afternoon to meet Andrew for lunch, I overheard a conversation unlike I had ever heard before...
Two complete strangers were discussing the towns they live in. The woman was disgusted with her small little town because.... drum roll.... "it is in the guinness book of world records for having the most churches per capita." She went on to explain that there is a church on every street corner and it's simply disgusting. She pointed out to the Portland skyline (from the tram), raised her arms, and said, "Ahhh, see, this is what I live for. Youth, excitement, recycling, intelligence. This is beauty, this is life."
The man did not argue or engage much in the conversation. He simply listened. As did I.
She then turned onto a more political direction. She shared that this "country is so messed up" and her stance is to "just apologize to the next generation."
There may be truth in much of what she said. In fact, more truth than I first realized. 1- this world is messed up. It is not our home. Because of sin, this world will always be messed up. [Through Christ, we can choose to accept His gift of eternal life. It takes action, having a relationship with him, living in step with his provision. We can choose more]. 2- There is beauty in youth, in the human mind, to create, re-use, to find excitement and joy in creation. [But all of these things were created by God]. 3- Just because institutions call themselves churches, doesn't mean they live for the Lord, share his table, love their community as Christ would, and even believe what God's Word says is truth.
However, it breaks my heart that the conversation ends there. She says, "this is what I live for, this is life."
Dear woman created by my Heavenly Father, this life is simply the beginning. This messed up, imperfect life is not the end.
You can choose more. I hope you choose more.
There are many other thoughts racing around in my little mind from this conversation. In order to not write a book, I'll stop here.
"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling moral man and birds and animals, and creeping things." Romans 1:20-23
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes... as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:16,17