Yes, I'm a child of the 80's.
For those of you that aren't, let me share a brief explanation. The above quote is repeated multiple times in a very entertaining movie called "The Princess Bride". Definitely worth a rental at Redbox or on Netflix, if you get a chance. Multiple plot tangles take place throughout this tongue-in-cheek comedy, but one that especially stands out is Inigo Montoya's obsessive hunt to find the six-fingered man that killed his father. He has spent his whole life training, searching, rehearsing, remembering, and singly focusing on this one task - to honor his father - his kin.
As I read today's reading, and kept "trying on" in my head the various aspects of being God's next of kin that Mr. DeVries describes, the image of Inigo Montoya sharing his life's story kept coming to mind. Yes, there are big differences between this character and what God is calling us to be, but I think a few similarities are present as well. Humor me.
1. Inigo made a vow and is religiously seeking to fulfill that vow. He goes throughout his life on a quest to fulfill it and will not cease until he is done. He is not afraid of what people think, he is not deterred by others who try to derail his focus. He perseveres. He is confident he will succeed.
As God's Next Of Kin, aren't I to have confidence like that? Confidence that I can persevere over anything the devil puts in my way? That I can act in the power of my Dad, my Ruler and not cease in His calling for me because of some worldly obstacles in my way?
2. Inigo remembers where he came from. He recites his story to anyone he encounters of what he learned from his father, how his father was a good man, and what he remembers about his father's last day. He asks all he sees if they have "six fingers" (like the man he is searching for) and he explains why. He is proud of being his father's son, and proud to honor his father.
Do I remember "where I came from"? Do I eagerly tell others the stories of my Heavenly Father, and the the things I have learned and experienced with Him? Am I ready to ask anyone that crosses my path if they know Christ, no matter who or why? Am I proud to be a Christ-follower? God's next of kin?
3. As he battled the "six fingered man" at a young age right after his father's death, Inigo realized he did not have the skills to honor his father. In one part of the movie, he shares the story of the sword training he did to make sure he would be ready when the day comes for him to face his father's assassin. He didn't know when that would be, but he was determined to be prepared whenever the situation arose.
Do I spend the time necessary to learn how to have God's authority on this earth and what it means to do so? Do I spend time in relationship with Christ, in prayer and word? Do I seek Him out to be closer and closer to an extension of Him on this world, so my actions, thoughts, and words can't help but extend from His desires for me and those around me?
4. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Yes, this sounds brutal, but the movie really is a comedy, so please understand this phrase as it is intended. In the movie, Inigo has rehearsed this line his entire life. He rehearsed it so that he would know what he needed to say/should be said when the time was right. The words gave him power and authority to continue his quest to the end.
Do I practice my story - the testimony that I carry of my personal relationship with Christ? Do I know my story? Have I asked what I should share when I am called upon to share?
5. Inigo is a good friend - he listens, he is loyal, he is true. He makes mistakes, but he is ready to admit them and move forward.
Do I really share my heart with God, as a friend shares with another friend? Am I listening to You, God, as a friend? Or do I know how to be a good friend, what that really means in Heavenly or earthly terms?
Again, there are obvious gaps in this illustration - Inigo is honoring a father that no longer lives and is seeking revenge to do so; we are intimately connected with a very REAL, living God who is calling us to love, honor and forgive. He has created us in His likeness so that is what we strive to fulfill.
I guess I just wonder what would happen in the world around me - my family, my neighborhood, my community - if I deeply sought to live out my connection to who I am - Whose I am - every single day, and if I doggedly, passionately lived to share that truth with all that cross my path. Would it be words, actions, or both? Would I make an "In Jesus' Name" impact so that my Heavenly Father, my friend, my next of kin, would be honored and glorified, and then I could run and jump in His lap and tell Him all about it afterwards? Would I know what I am? Would others know?
Here's the scripture for today: "Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent." (Exodus 33:7-11)
So many questions for me on today's reading. How about you? Please share.
Speaking of sharing -- this week we are beginning to collect “Why Pray? - Stories”! Please share through the comments for today's blog or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We would love any and all stories (long or short) of how God has used the “Why Pray? Journey” in your life!
.....As we close for today, can you stop with me and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you right now to make your own statement of what God created you (us) to be? Try to limit it to just a few sentences. Make it simple, so that it can be shared with people who are not familiar with the Bible. Feel free to share below as well!
God's Blessings to you today! Lisa