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Spiritual Matters

Habitat provides chance for all of us

September 26, 2012 - Most of us have probably heard the old Chinese saying, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Though it comes from a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu who lived over 2,500 years ago, it still rings true today that actually taking a first step is essential to any journey or dream, no matter how large or difficult the venture may be. The emphasis here clearly seems to be on the action of doing something and getting started, not just talking or thinking or worrying about it. This is sound advice for sure.

However, as I was doing some research, I came across a number of reliable sources that suggest a more correct translation of this quote from the original language would be something like, "the journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet" or "even the longest journey must begin where you stand."

Here the emphasis shifts somewhat from action to reflection on where you are when you begin. The journey begins in stillness and right where we are, not where we wish we were or think we should be. This too is wise counsel.

Recently, we have completed the development of a spiritual growth pathway for Calvary congregation to help guide and encourage our steps of spiritual and personal growth as God's people. As we have done so, it has become evident that both understandings of the quote above are important to remember in the life God calls us to.

Our goal is to help each person in our faith community do something to take a growth step, that is to "Walk the Talk" as our fall 40 Days spiritual growth journey theme suggests.

However, at the same time, it is important to recall that we each begin the journey at a different place and will follow a somewhat different path of spiritual growth due to our uniqueness. God calls us to start right where we are, not where we think we should be or want to be. And God calls us to get started now, not wait.

I believe this is really good news of God's grace and unconditional love for us. Today we are invited to come as we really are to walk with the Lord and grow to become all that God has made us to be. The Bible puts it this way: "May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance" (2 Thessalonians 3:5). I am so glad that as people of faith we don't make this journey alone.

This fall in Clarkston we have a chance put this into practice as we are embark on a new venture together as My Habitat Clarkston launches.

This is a real opportunity for us to come together to not only build a house for a family, vital as that is, but to also build a better habitat for humanity, for all of us.

This is a big undertaking, and as I write this, we still do not know exactly where the house to build or renovate will be. We do know that we have taken some first steps together.

We have gotten started right where we are and now we each have an opportunity to get involved in building this house and this habitat by doing whatever we can to make our community an even better place to live.

I like the way the Message Bible puts Paul's words: In light of all this, here's what I want you to do...I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere" (Ephesians 4:1).

The Rev. Jonathan Heierman is Senior Pastor of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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