Nov 5th: Remembering Our Past, Inspiring Our Future, with Rev. Dr. Steven Koski.
A Part of the Series:
Remembering Our Past, Inspiring Our Future with Rev. Dr. Steven Koski. Series: All In A Spacious Christianity, First Presbyterian Church of Bend, Oregon. Scripture: Genesis 12.1-3;Matthew 10.39; Hebrews 12.1;Psalm 100.5.
This week, Rev. Dr. Steven Koski will share a message on living a life of significance and blessing others. How do you want to be remembered in 100 years? Join us to be inspired to focus on building a world where future generations can flourish.
Imagine that your 100th birthday party, people from all facets of your life have gathered to celebrate you, your family, even the great grandchildren that haven’t even yet been born, your friends, your neighbors, people you worked with during your career, people from the community, even people from various parts of the world where you tried to make a difference. I imagine all of these people gathered to celebrate you talk about the difference that you’ve made in their lives, and in the lives of others.
What would you most like to hear people say about you? How do you most want to be remembered? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind? Now ask yourself, are you living your life today? In the way you want to be remembered tomorrow? There was a study done at the University of Wisconsin where 1000 people over the age of 90 were asked if you had to live your life over again. What would you do differently? Now the third most popular response to that question was I would live less cautiously and conservatively, I take more risks. I think it was Helen Keller, who said life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all. And the second most popular response to that question, if I had to live my life over again, I would focus more on my relationships, and loving Well, trust me, people don’t talk about what they’ve accumulated or accomplished on their deathbed. They don’t talk about their cars, their house, their dream vacation. They talk about who they love, and who loves them. And if there are regrets. It’s that they didn’t forgive easily enough, or love as generously as they wished.
They said I would concern myself less with success, and more with significance. I would focus less on the the elusive happy life and more on what makes for a meaningful life. We’re mourning the death of actor Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler in the sitcom Friends. Recently, Perry said in an interview, I don’t want to be remembered for friends. I want to be remembered as someone who built a treatment center. For men with addictions. I want to be remembered first and foremost.
What’s lacking in this world our wise elders who live today in the way they want to be remembered tomorrow. Our Bible reading is from Genesis 12 Where it says God said to Abram, go from your country, your people, your father’s household, to the land, I will show you, I will make you into a great nation. And I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. And all the people on earth will be blessed through you.
Now Abraham lived around the year 1750 BCE. He was from the city of Earth which was located on the banks of the Tigris Euphrates River, south of the ancient and present city of Baghdad. And what we’ve learned from archaeological finds was that the city of Earth was technologically advanced with sophisticated canals and ditches for water. It was very wealthy, where the average size of a house was 1314 rooms. And they appeared to be as culturally sophisticated and educationally advanced as ancient Egyptians.
Leave your country, your kindred your father’s house Now this would be a huge, a huge risk, a huge sacrifice for him to leave behind all of the comfort, the security, the familiarity, and go to some unknown land.
We’re so slow to understand that we’re conditioned to think in our consumer culture, that life is about us. And even God’s blessings should be something that gives us material comfort, prosperity, success, security. Have you noticed when people say, I’m blessed, they often refer to what they have in life. Now what of divine blessing is something much deeper, much more significant than that? What if a blessed life is a life where we’ve learned to surrender our ego, and we’ve joined forces with God and bringing life and healing to others.
And those willing to give their lives away for the sake of love, will find a life like they’d never imagined. God said to Abraham go, you will be blessed, so that you will be a blessing to others. First Presbyterian Church of bed has been in existence for over 120 years. It’s the oldest faith community in Bend. I give thanks for how this church has lived out. It’s calling to be a blessing to this community in the world for over 120 years. I mean, we exist today as a vibrant and growing church.
The race that is marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, who, what a fantastic image. There is this great mystical cloud of witnesses who have passed the baton of faith to us. And they’re now cheering us on. They’re cheering us on as we run our leg of the race.
And the way that you want to be remembered tomorrow. And our church has a cloud of witnesses. You know, imagine for a moment all who have sat in the pews over the last 120 years. Those who have served selflessly sacrificed, loved generously. They have passed the baton of faith.
To us, they’re cheering us on to be faithful to be bold to be generous. They’re cheering us on to run the race that is set before us with passion and perseverance who will weep Ask the baton of faith to Will there be a congregation 100 years from now celebrating, telling stories grateful for the blessings that we’ve handed to them.
As we remember the saints, with a cloud of witnesses that surround us, as we express our gratitude for their legacy. How will we be remembered? What will our legacy be? You know, I don’t really know what the future holds for the church.
The church will not only survive, but thrive. When we worry less about the church surviving and more about the survival of the planet. When we worry less about, about me, and more about we, when we worry less about preserving the institution, and more about protecting the most vulnerable in our world. When we worry less about policy in the chalice for the communion table, and more about making sure that everyone I mean everyone feels welcomed at the table.
When we worry less about buildings and budgets, and we worry more about bread for the hungry, healing for the hurting. How do you want to be remembered? What will your legacy be? As we run the race that is set before us? Maybe the best gift we can give to future generations is to live our lives today.