Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Ruth 1: 16 (NIV)
June is that month—a time where weddings occur in abundance. Lynda and I were married in June, 52 years ago. I have had the privilege to perform many wedding ceremonies.
And at one point during the ceremony, I lead the groom and then the bride through their vows, promises, prayers and covenants, in part, something like this—
I, __________, take you, ___________, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance, and where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. This is my solemn vow. And thereto I pledge you my faith.
Covenants made to each other in the presence of God. A covenant that will be subjected to stresses and struggles, and all that a journey through this world involves. A covenantal journey which will call upon the integrity and commitment of each person, wrapped in the love and protection of the God who watches over them and their marriage.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen The Muppet Movie. But it’s all about covenants, commitment and integrity—in particular of a little green frog named Kermit.
Kermit’s on his way to Hollywood in response to an ad in Variety newspaper he was shown by a talent agent in the swamp in the beginning of the movie. An ad that sought frogs for casting in certain roles and promised to make them rich and famous.
So Kermit set his face toward Hollywood, but not to be rich and famous, but to follow the dream that had been placed on his heart that if he were to get one of these roles he could “….make millions happy.”
He made a promise to himself and to that dream, and the movie is the story of his journey to Hollywood from the swamp to fulfill that promise. Along the way he was joined in the journey by Fozzie bear, Miss Piggy, a chicken, Ralph the dog and Gonzo, a nondescript animal with a sad heart.
A broken down car has caused their journey to come to a grinding halt in the desert, and Kermit is downcast, his dream seems lost, and the integrity that has carried him to this point in fulfilling his covenant is on the wane. But in a dream he has in the desert—depicting a conversation he has with his conscience—he decides to press on with his original commitment, the covenant he made, which must be fulfilled.
Whether he or Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppet Movie, realized it or not, Kermit set out to do God things—to fulfill a promise and a dream that God would honor, that God would smile upon, and to make millions happy. And his integrity in the commitment he made required that Kermit stay the course.
Look—in real life, if you haven’t noticed yet—stuff happens, things change, marriages are stressed and challenged, things get confusing at times, people misunderstand us, relationships become tense, and fear grips our daily living. We often just want to become resigned to our situations, or feel like we want to throw our hands in the air and walk away, or to simply sit and do nothing else in our lives, while our cars blow up in the desert, or our lives take detours that we didn’t plan for, or we get whacked with disappointments, heartaches, and tragedies that bring us to the point of despair.
But through it all, as followers of Christ the dream never changes. God’s vision for our lives, for His Kingdom, never changes. And it always calls us to go forward to become all we can be, and to reach out again and again, in His name to each other and to a world in desperate need of His love.
The integrity of our commitments, our covenants with each other and Him, and the integrity of the Kingdom of God require that under His power, and with His Grace we set our face toward Him and—no matter what—move ahead, together.
In His Name–Scott