Two weeks ago a new television show debuted. It is titled God Friended Me. In the pilot episode a young man named Miles received a Facebook friend request from someone claiming to be God. Since Miles is an atheist, he declined the request several times before relenting and adding “God” to his friend list. As soon as he did so, God began suggesting other people for Miles to friend. Each person had a need, or led Miles into a new adventure. And in each new adventure, unexplainable and mysterious things happened that made Miles wonder if maybe there really is a God who has a plan for us, and if we really are all part of some grand design.
“New York City, center of the universe, home to 8.6 million people . . . a diverse melting pot of culture, everyone searching for meaning and answers. I thought I had it all figured out, but then something happened, and it changed my life forever.” Those are the opening words of a new TV show that debuted last Sunday. It is titled God Friended Me, and it is the story of a young man named Miles. In the pilot episode, Miles received a friend request on Facebook from God.
“Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth.” A week ago Thursday, the members of the Disciple 4 Bible study group sat down, and read that list of names in opening verses of chapter one of the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles. For the next nine chapters, they then read genealogical lists of additional names, one after another, as the writer of 1 Chronicles “chronicled” the lineage of the Israelites from Adam all the way to King Solomon.
A new pastor stepped into the pulpit at Passive United Methodist Church on July 1st, and preached her first sermon. The people loved it. It laid out the gospel clearly. It had humor. It was easy to understand. And in closing, it called on the people to do the work that is necessary to fulfill that church’s purpose statement to “introduce people to Jesus Christ, help them become faithful followers of Him, and equip them to share His love with others.” On July 8th, the pastor stepped into the pulpit at Passive United Methodist Church, and preached the exact same sermon. While many people enjoyed the message because it was just as good the second time around, a few people complained that the pastor had not written a new sermon. Some people defended her, saying “well maybe she’s still unpacking. Giver her time to settle in.”
More than a century ago, Samuel Foss wrote the poem you just heard. It is titled The Calf Path, and it talks about how unaware we can be about the manner in which we journey through life. This is because it is easy to think we are moving along through our own decision-making when we actually may be meandering aimlessly along paths others have created before us. This can happen because our sense of direction – especially spiritual direction – is flawed. It has been infected with a spiritual virus called sin, and it can (like Foss’s calf path) cause us to wander to and fro, and back and forth, rather than taking us in the direction God would have us go. That is the bad news. The good news is that God offers to show us the best way to get to our destination. And God offers to help us not only complete the journey, but also to travel it in such a way that we experience joy, peace, and contentment along the way.