Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Perspective of Heaven--Wesley Foundation E-letter (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Dear Friends,


Hope everyone is doing well.  It looks like Fall has officially begun.  I am actually cold as I sit here in my office, and I even have long sleeves and jeans on!  But it is nice to have a change of season.  It’s good to enjoy the crispness of autumn.


This is what we have going on this week.  Tonight at worship (6:30pm) we will focus on God’s mercy:  What does God’s mercy look like?  How does it impact our lives?  And then on Thursday night, after we eat (6:30pm) we will discuss the next part of the Lord’s Prayer—Give us this day our daily bread.  Come and see how God’s provision extends to your life.


Just FYI—Our city-wide worship for college students and young adults is on Thursday October 15th, the next Thursday after Fall Break.  We will meet here as usually for dinner and a brief program, then we will head to State Street UMC to join other college ministries from our local churches for an AWESOME time of worship.  I am so pumped!  DG Hollums is coming to preach!  He is an awesome communicator who really is on the cutting edge of what God is doing in the lives of this generation.  He has a heart for Jesus that translates into a powerful message to change lives.  And he has cool tatoos.  Maybe after this baby is born I might get some too!  J  We’ll see—


Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


Last night I watched a PBS special on the founding of America’s National Parks.  Ever since Tim and I visited Yellowstone several years ago, I watch everything I can on the great parks.  I was incredibly moved to be in the vastness of nature and see first hand the wonders of God’s creation.  My dream is to return someday and share the experience with my children.  Even though they are still too small for such a grand adventure, it is enough to go on less dramatic excursions.  We spent time over the summer in the Smokies, taking in the mist covered mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.  And before Noah’s first day of school we went on a day trip to Mammoth Cave and walked two small trails.  Our little hike around a pond was the most successful venture.  For a few brief moments our lives were transfixed by the sound of bull frogs calling to each other over the water.  Simple miracles—we had never heard those before.


I feel close to God when I am in nature.  Its silence and simplicity have a way of revealing to my heart all of the ways I make life more complicated than it has to be.  I love Jesus’ words that admonish us to consider the lilies of the field, to forsake worry because God clothes them in glory and they are but grass.  How much greater is His love for us.  But how many of us ever take the time to actually walk in a field?  When do our lives in this fast paced world intersect with things only God made?  Everything around us is man-made.  If you take your shoes off you can probably find a spot that says “man-made materials.”  I believe this is why last night’s special resonated so much with me.  It told the story of how ordinary people fought to reserve the natural wonders of our country for everyone to enjoy and experience, to not allow unthinking and unhindered “progress” to rob us of the natural treasures that can never be replaced if destroyed.


Interwoven through the show was the story of John Muir, the European born conservationist who founded the Sierra Club.  Largely because of his efforts Yosemite National Park was created, and later Yosemite Valley was later added.  The friendship and influence he had upon President Theodore Roosevelt resulted in the preservation and conservation of many sites that otherwise would not have been spared.  The end of his life is rather sad though.  He spent his last years trying to save another valley from the influence of progress and lost.  The city of San Francisco eventually won the right to damn up the Tuolumne River (which originates and runs through Yosemite National Park) and turn Hetch Hetchy Valley into a reservoir for the city’s use.  Heart broken, Muir died in despair. 


But that’s not the end of the story.   After seeing how the construction of the damn impacted the valley and surrounding area, many conservationists began to work to arduously to strengthen and shore up the protection offered by federal authorities for National Parks.  Because of their efforts, the existing lands that have been preserved through the national park system are far safer than they were in the fledgling years of the project.  His efforts to save Hetch Hetchy Valley were not in vain.  Others noticed and were inspired.  What did not work for him eventually worked for them in ways he could not have imagined, with affects far more reaching than his efforts alone.  Yet without his humble gift of passion to ignite theirs, their efforts would not have even existed.


And that’s the thing.  I’m sitting here stunned by the power of this realization, the power of the faithful effort humbly given.  Often our efforts seem small and inconsequential.  Often they are thankless and menial.  Often they are unnoticed and dismissed.  And often at the end of the day, we throw in our towel defeated, sometimes even in despair because we don’t believe we made any difference at all.  Yet Heaven has a different perspective.  It touched my heart tremendously to hear one of our new students talk about how she received one of our small care packages last year.  Even though she never made it up the hill for any of our meetings or events, that gift was a huge encouragement to her.  For years putting those bags together has felt like wasted effort, yet in that one moment it seemed God pulled back the clouds and gave me the perspective of Heaven. 


We cannot judge the viability of our lives.  We are too immersed in the earthly dimension to clearly see how we impact those around us.  Yet we may be comforted with this thought:  God honors our faithfulness.  As we keep giving ourselves into God’s hands, trying our best to live right, each day seeking His guidance for the little things, and then by faith (because often we don’t have a clue) just going with what we got, we can trust that God will lead us into paths of righteousness.  We can also trust that God will take that daily offering and transform it into something that leaves an indelible mark on history, something that is beautiful and lasting:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:9-10).


This is me trusting,




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Sami Wilson

Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry




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