Person to Person
“…You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail…You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:11-12
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting eleven of our students in my home for a dorm section retreat. As we enjoyed the weekend together, I was honored to listen in as each woman shared individually — family histories, dreams, goals, and paths that led them to Multnomah.
Friday night, I had the privilege of sharing with them from Isaiah 58 — a portion of Scripture that continues to challenge me in meaningful ways. In this passage, God confronts Israel, through the prophet Isaiah, with their inappropriate practices of spiritual disciplines. While engaged in activity that would appear to be just the list that one might consider for pleasing God — praying, fasting, practicing righteousness, etc. — Israel totally misses it. In just going through the motions, their hearts were far from His.
Much like the Israelites, I often find it easy to get caught up in the actions of what I like to call “task list” Christianity. I find that in being a task driven person, sincere efforts can easily default to the keeping of a check list, and the neglect of pursuing a heart relationship with God. As Isaiah challenged the Israelites, even so our spirituality ought to be intentional in seeking God first — in order that we would align our hearts, desires, and actions with His, for as we do, Isaiah says it is “then (that) your light will rise in the darkness… You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail… You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (v. 10-12).
As I shared with these women the great privilege they would one day have in representing Multnomah as alumni, I challenged them with the even greater responsibility of representing Christ within our broken world. Oh, that our lives would be seen as lights that shine in darkness, ones overflowing with life as repairers and restorers of brokenness. Not only so as to protect our reputation in being well-meaning people who do good in the world for our own sake, or for Multnomah’s, but also for the sake of reflecting God’s character and His truth to a lost and dying world.
What a beautiful reminder as we anticipate the celebration of Easter this month. As we reorient our lives in this way, may we be people characterized by true resurrection. That our fasting would lead us towards humility and dependence, that our times of prayer would refocus our hearts and desires to fit with His, and that in our reading of God’s Word we would come to know His desire for intimate relationship with us.
Following this weekend retreat, I was given the privilege of attending the home-going celebration for one of our alum’s, Mrs. Beverly Margaret Mast (‘55). In light of my time together with these current students, I found Beverly’s memorial service to be an even more powerful experience in that her life was a picture of faithfulness focused towards this end. As the officiating pastor spoke on the will and testament of her life, he shared with us the following words from a term paper she had written: “I want the beauty of Christ to be seen in me.” CHRIST FIRST was Beverly’s heart and her passion.
Closing the memorial service was the familiar Steve Green song, “May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful” — what a great prayer and charge for our hearts today! Wherever you may find yourself on this continuum, be it a recent graduate or one nearing the end of life’s journey, my prayer for us all would be that those who come behind us find us faithful. As Beverly's desire, “May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe and the lives we live inspire them to obey…Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
That His beauty be seen in me,
Michelle M. Peel, MA ’10, BA ’00
Director of Alumni Relations