Hello from Cornish, United Church of Christ!
Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books from childhood? They were typically mystery fiction chapter books. Each chapter ended with a decision for the reader to make. For instance, if you came to a fork in the road you were asked if you wanted to turn left or to the right. If you wanted to turn left you would be directed to go to page 10. If you wanted to turn right you would be directed to turn to page 17. Only one series of choices ended up being the winning path to unravel the story. Otherwise, you would end up freezing to death, getting lost in the woods or maybe even get eaten by zombies or something. Very unsettling for a kid; but fun!
My favorite Choose Your Own Adventure book is the Bible. I remember when I first started reading it before I knew if I believed it or not. I had been told it was a good book (or maybe they said, “The Good Book”?) I started with the Gospels. I was dumbfounded that Jesus was killed in all of them; Matthew, Mark, Luke and then John (spoiler alert). Why do that to such a nice guy? Reading through the epistles I began to realize that this was not a dead story but one that was alive and inviting me into it. The hero of the story was the risen Christ who smiled at me from the pages with open arms asking me to come with Him, all I had to do was believe. That terrified me so I put the Bible away. I didn’t want to believe in anything, I wanted to be free to choose my own adventure. I wanted what the Bible could give me, not a relationship with its main character. Strangely, the Bible stories haunted me for years. I prayed to God to help understand what truth was. With that, the Holy Spirit instilled in me the desire to study, pray, seek community and ask questions. For a long time, I believed in the message of the Bible and felt unworthy and even foolish. Then, when I accepted that it was not what I could do but what Christ has done, my heart broke open with full-fledged faith. I try to make the best decisions to follow Christ, but I am not perfect. I follow bunny trails but God always seems there to get me back on the right page or holds my hand through the scary parts. And now I remind you that this living adventure is not just for me, it’s for all of us! God has already chosen us to be in the story. Will we choose Him?
Easter is the perfect time to re-engage your sense of wonder in understanding the living relationship God has invited us into through His risen Son, Jesus Christ. Our lives are the adventure we live as we journey towards eternity. We hope to live our adventures with you; both old friends and new. I pray that where ever you are in the story you feel safe, loved and hopeful. Let us know how we can be praying for you!
With Blessings and Joy,