E-pistle August 22

No Greater Joy

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” So writes the Apostle John.  John, of course, was thinking of his spiritual children, those he had pastored for so many years, many of whom had come to faith in Christ through his faithful ministry.  I’m going to take the figurative back to the literal this week as our son Christopher and his wife Katie visit with Becky and me this weekend. Christopher and Katie leave for Italy on September 5. They are spending Christopher’s final fall semester of his Notre Dame architecture program in Rome (and we’re planning on a November visit!). Of course we’re eager to show off a little bit of Philadelphia and Bucks County and especially anxious to have them meet some of you – they have heard a lot about our wonderful LPC family.

Becky and I are justifiably proud of Christopher (and his sisters; more on them another day). He did very well in college and now is in graduate school. Katie is a gift not just to Christopher, but to our whole family. Their future is bright. I hope you get to meet them on Sunday.

But the joy we feel this weekend will be deeper than the pride we have in him or the pleasure of showing him around our new world.  The greatest joy that Christopher (and his sisters; more on that another day) brings to us is the knowledge that he is walking in the Truth.

His sisters would tell you that Christopher has a wicked sense of humor, and he does.  It’s quick and it’s funny.  But he has a sharper sense of God’s call and claim on his life.  Christopher was baptized into Christ as an infant. As a 14-year old confirmation student he learned that his chief end in life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Seeking God’s end for his life became an increasingly clear focus for Christopher in his high school and college years. On Sunday I will remind you of one of my favorite books, Don’t Waste Your Life. Christopher is the one who introduced me to this marvelous little work, and he is intent on not wasting his life.

When people first meet Christopher they think he’s always quiet. Sometimes for good reason. When he was 13 I took him on a wilderness backpacking trip with some of my California friends. Christopher barely spoke for three days. But then we hit tree line at 10,000 feet just above Scepter Lake on the way to Cathedral Lake and then Crown Creek. And Christopher began to talk.  It was as if breaking into that land of alpine meadows and polished granite gave him something to say.

Christopher still likes to talk about the places and ways he sees God in the world (and his views on politics, postmodern architecture and fast cars). Just don’t expect that conversation when you’re too far below tree line.

Christopher is my son and I love him. He’s not perfect (too much of his father’s DNA) and God is not finished with him yet. I’d never not love Christopher, but, indeed, the Apostle is right, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Parents, teach your children well, teach them the Truth they will walk in for the rest of their lives.  Church, teach our children well, teach them the Truth that sets them free.

See you Sunday – maybe you’ll get to meet Christopher and Katie.