St. Lukians Embark on a Spiritual Journey
By Ken Stevens
Since mid-February, about twenty St. Luke parishioners have been
gathering weekly on a pre-Lenten spiritual journey - a self-directed seminar led by Fr.
Andrew Harrison and based on The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren. If any of you keep
tabs on the best seller list, you will have seen this book in the Top-Ten of the NY Times
Best Seller List for most of the past two years. It is, in fact, the best-selling
hardcover non-fiction book in history. Our weekly gathering is just the beginning, and
is expected to spawn an ongoing series of get-togethers at various parishioners' homes.
The main idea of the seminar focuses around God's eternal purpose for our life that starts
here on earth, and how He invites us to join Him in this purpose now. For many, this is a
challenging, even life-changing journey.
Obviously, the book has connected passionately with millions of people.
It even made big news this past week when Ashley Smith, the lady who was held hostage for
about seven hours in Atlanta, read tracts from Purpose-Driven Life to alleged courthouse
killer Brian Nichols.
In a recent interview, Rick Warren reflected on the enormous response
to the book by explaining that it deals with the most fundamental issue of life, that is,
"What on earth am I here for?" and "Why am I alive?" Warren believes that people are tired
of the self-centered, narcissistic, "it's all about me" culture. Simply stated, the
purpose of life is all about preparation for eternity: "...we were made to last forever...
one day my heart is going to stop and that will be the end of my body, but not the end of
me... I am going to spend millions of years in eternity... this is a warm-up act, the dress
rehearsal... God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity."
The discussion during our Friday night gatherings have been very
interactive, and we are tackling the hard questions of life - openly and honestly -
relative to our purpose for living - both individual and collective. The book expertly
hones the purpose-driven life down to five key principles of: worship, growth,
evangelism, fellowship, and ministry. Warren believes that the clearest expression for
the five purposes are the Great Commandment (Love God with all your heart and Love your
neighbor as yourself), and the Great Commission (Go and make disciples...).
We ask ourselves - and discuss - all the questions that plague every
man. In the final analysis of life, are we going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or are we going to be driven by God's
Warren offers a good sanity check for life fulfillment: "When I get up
in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, "God, if I don't get anything done
today, I want to know You more and love You better." At the end of the day, if I've done
that, the day was a success. On the other hand, if I get to the end of the day and I
haven't gotten to know God better and love Him more, I just missed the first purpose of
life, and I've wasted the day." God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list.
He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings,
not human doings.
We invite all St. Parishioners to join our purpose-driven journey. You
can come anytime, there is no need to play "catch up". Please call Fr. Harrison or Ken
Stevens for details. It is, quite simply, a superb opportunity to grow in the Lord.