I was not yet a member at First Presbyterian when I found myself in the church library looking for the explanations for the Chapel windows Frank Lee had pointed out in our New Members' tour. There happened to be a meeting of the library staff at the time which allowed me to meet new friends. While this was going on, a person who was somehow larger than life strode into the room. I did not know this person and still did not after formal introductions but was immediately overwhelmed by his presence. He asked what brought me to this church and I mumbled something to the effect that after visiting most churches in the area, this one seemed to fit my needs best with regard to volunteerism. He could tell I was fumbling at my explanation and said simply but emphatically, "God brought you here." With that, Bill Arthur turned and walked out.
Our officer training has since realigned my thinking. This life is not the journey that I planned but one that God planned for me. Repeatedly, the statement is made that God will lead and we will follow. This seems to stand at all levels - whether we are speaking of missions, the budget shortfall or those leaving the church. I am continually impressed at the reaching out by the teaching elders to those with other opinions so that they and we do not lose sight of the fact that we all share the same basic beliefs as Christians and that Scripture lies as the foundation of faith in us all.
I am especially moved by the Heidelburg Catechism because each question is addressed to me and stresses man's misery, his redemption and his thankfulness. This latter thankfulness is the hallmark of the reformed theology in explaining why it is that we must do good works by saying, "Because just as Christ has redeemed us with his blood he also renews us through his Holy Spirit according to his own image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves grateful to God for his goodness and that he may be glorified through us; and further, so that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits and by our reverent behavior may win our neighbors to Christ."
Part of our officer training consisted of practicing the Lectio Divina in an attempt to deepen our relationship with Christ. On performing this reading of scripture and meditation, I had hoped for a sign - something that would break through my rigid scientific background to prove that I was on the right track: a hand on my shoulder, a word, a feeling in short, some miracle that I could grasp to reinforce my faith. But the only thing I experienced was a peace of mind. I nevertheless continued the practice and finally realized during my meditation that the miracles I sought were all around me the high school students playing their instruments during the concert, a beautiful sunset, the singers at Morning Song and those in the choir, the birth of a child, and even Bill Arthur's teaching us how to die. I discovered that I am a part of this intricate web and that I did not need a burning bush it's all right here in front of me.