Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Miss Mayberry

I miss Mayberry. Mayberry is the fictional American town in the television series, “The Andy Griffith Show.” It is a place where the local sheriff and his deputy have little to do and are always available to help find a lost dog or farm animal. It is a place where no one locks their doors and the most controversial topic is whether to spend money on choir robes or church building repairs. I grew up in a small rural community that had some similarities to Mayberry. Of course many would argue that if one were to look below the surface of Mayberry, North Carolina and Great Bend, Alberta, we would find greater complexities than first seen. However, the fact is, the world in which I live is considerably different from Mayberry or Great Bend.

We face many challenging issues in the 21st century, urban environment in which I live. How should we live? The author of Psalm 119 had similar questions. He asks, “How can a young person stay pure?” We might add, “How does anyone live a life of justice, truth, and love?”

The answer lies in verse 10. Psalm 119:10 says, “I seek you with all my heart.”

Aurelius Augustine (354 – 430 AD) said “Love God and do as you will.”* He rightly recognized that love is the key to doing what is right. If we truly love God, we will want to do what God desires. Psalm 37:4 similarly says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If we truly love God, if we seek Him with all of our heart, we will truly want what God wants. This will apply in simple choices and in complex ethical issues. Maybe Mayberry can exist wherever we live.

Psalm 119:9-16
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
*St Aurelius Augustine Sermon on 1 John 4:4-12. Source. Translated by H. Browne. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/170207.htm.

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