Posted by Scott Foster on

Hard to miss the big birthday celebration last night.

In fact, the fireworks have been going off in the area for about a week now. I noticed that there must be some really nice club celebrations or maybe some private permits out there. I can hear them at all hours from our house!

So last night, we went to Jersey City to sit on the edge of the Hudson River with the masses and it was pretty awesome! You could see the Macy’s Fireworks through the sea of buildings that is Manhattan. Macy’s show was on the East River. Couldn’t really hear them, but you sure could see ‘em.

It was a cool teaser for the Jersey City show. Of course, Jersey City’s show wasn’t quite as big a deal—no big synchronization with a soundtrack or any of those kinds of production values, but it was a great show! Nice little celebration for 241 years of democracy.

So I’m enjoying the show and my mind is wandering around about birthday celebrations. Some of those local fireworks that I’ve been hearing from my house could be somebody’s birthday party. They sure could.

And what kid wouldn’t love fireworks for their birthday?
I mean just ask ‘em.

About this time last year during Day Camp, I sat on the front steps of Webb Chapel with Effie Bolton and she proceeded to tell me all about her next birthday party. (Which isn’t until sometime in the Fall. But that doesn’t matter to Effie!)

In fact, it doesn’t matter to any kid.
Just ask ‘em—they’re already planning their next birthday party!

Kids are oblivious to the stuff that occupies you and me.

They are not a bit worried about North Korean Intercontinental Ballistics. Unless it affected their family’s plans in some way, they couldn’t care less about the state parks being closed over the weekend.

I remember listening to Effie and I’m jealous!
I wonder what that was like when I was like 8. We live in such complicated times and with our 24/7 news cycle, it just seems like so much, doesn’t it? We carry the news in our pockets now. It’s too much!

But I got to thinking about it. What’s wrong with following Effie’s lead? What’s wrong with focusing on what we’re going to do for our next birthday? I think Effie wanted a roller skating/petting zoo combo of some kind. But no fireworks. She may not have thought of that!

And then I take it a step further and wonder what would happen if we stopped paying so much attention to the news and started paying a lot more attention to following Jesus while we’re planning that next birthday party?

How could we change the world if we just focused on caring for our neighbors by living into the fruit of the Spirit?

Paul reminds the Galatians in Chapter 5 that this is key to inheriting the kingdom of God:

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”

What if we actually tried that? What if we actually tried to live by the Spirit? What if we actually let the Spirit guide us? We’ll get it right and we’ll get it wrong, for sure. But, let’s try it out and see what happens.  Whether we’re going to be 8 or 80 on our next birthday, I know it would at least change our corner of the world. Who knows how far the ripples would go?

             What if we could change the news?
             Happy Birthday, indeed!

Grace and Peace, 


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