Make It Matter
Tuesday Reflection for September 8, 2020
Pastor Suzanne Trump
Last night I watched a movie, The Last Word, staring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried. The premise of the meeting is that MacLaine’s character, Harriet Lauler wants Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried) to write her obituary. The problem is that while she has been extraordinarily successful, Harriet is not well liked. When Anne points this out to her, Harriet decides to make some changes for her obituary. It is a charming movie, a bit slow, but has much to teach us about life. I was struck by one comment that Harriet made, “don’t have a good day, have a day that matters.”
Have a day that matters. What would that look like to you? How would you structure that day? Having served as a hospice chaplain and a pastor, I have been at many bedsides when people are dying. One theme that runs through most of these last moments of life is that we want our life to have mattered. We want the fact that we lived and breathed and walked on this earth to have mattered. We want people to remember us.
I went to sleep last night and woke up today with these thoughts. What would a day that mattered look like for me? It really is a hard question and probably changes over time. For me, at this moment in my life, a day that matters would be a day that I was able to make a change in someone’s life for the better. A day that matters would be one hundred percent linked to my faith. And really is not all that different than asking what is God calling me to do?
As I reflect on what God is calling me to do, I cannot help but think back to my confirmation day. When we affirm for ourselves the promises made on our behalf at our baptism. Here are the promises that we make (from The Evangelical Lutheran Worship):
You have made public profession of your faith. Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism:
to live among God’s faithful people,
to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
to serve all people, following the example of Jesus,
and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?
Each person responds:
I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.
If like me, you have been confirmed then you too have made these promises. I wonder how many of us think about these promises after we are confirmed. I know that I think about them when I prepare others to affirm their baptism. Perhaps if we regularly went back and reflected on these promises, we could make all our days matter. Matter to God and to our brothers and sisters.
It may have been a predictable movie with a happy ending, but it certainly helped me to think about the way in which I lead my life. My prayer for this day is that you too would reflect on your promises to God and to each other. And together we might make a life that matters.