Bibles in the Beer Garden

by | May 7, 2024 | Bold in Life, The SundayMonday Tuesday Archives

A couple of weeks ago I was at a happy hour with some friends in my run club, and the topic shifted (as it often does) to God. The two of them had been baptized as infants and asked me if we’d all end up in the same heaven – you know – a light, 6 pm happy hour discussion. I responded that by being baptized they had an “indelible mark on their soul,” which means that they belong to God and that He loves them and wants them in heaven with Him. One of them responded: “Then why even bother being religious right now if I’m going to end up in the same heaven anyway?”

It’s not the first time I’ve gotten this question and I doubt it will be the last. Almost 40% of Americans ages 18-29 consider themselves “nones,” or people with no religious affiliation. Many friends I grew up with are leaving the church, or if not leaving, attending very rarely. It’s an epidemic, one that hits close to my own heart, as a woman who loves her faith and experiences a great deal of joy from living it.

I think I responded as I usually do, along the lines of “My faith enriches my experience of life and is the most important thing to me. I couldn’t imagine living without a relationship with Jesus.” And it’s true, but in the days after this particular conversation, I put a bit more time into thinking about it. How does my faith truly enrich my life, especially as a young adult?

First, the living of my faith in my daily life reminds me that everything is not about me. I’m not here to maximize my own joy – and in seasons where I’ve tried to do that, I’ve ended up more miserable and aimless than before. Rather, my life is about honoring, praising, and glorifying God through my decisions, actions, and words. The funny part is that following God’s commandments and seeking out His Will through prayer and the sacraments gives me deeper and more steadfast joy in my life than I ever thought possible.

Second, my faith provides steadiness through the shifting seasons of life. The only constant is change, and I’ve lived so many different lifetimes even in the past year. New jobs, new friendships, new adventures, new stressors, and new opportunities – when I remember that these things come from the hand of God, I know that I am free to be present and joyful in them since they’ve been given to me by a good, good Father.

Third, and finally, our faith is true. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Woof. If Jesus came, died, and rose for us (spoiler alert: He did), then that’s not a small-potatoes situation, it’s life-altering. As James 4:14 puts it, “You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” Our lives are so, so small in the immensity of eternity. Keeping my eyes on the horizon helps me rise above any little inconveniences or disappointments I’m facing in the current moment, and live freely in the love of God.

I do not begin to understand how heaven works, but I pray that by living my faith on earth I’m getting closer to it every day, and as St. Therese says, “God cannot inspire unrealizable desires.” If heaven is the desire, He will make a way, as long as we stay faithful.

How do you respond in these conversations? Is there anything you’ve said or heard that has helped you express your faith well? Reply to this email and let me know!

In Christ,

Jane


Prayer requests

  • For a special intention
  • For all those who are grieving
  • For a friend about to have a baby!

 

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Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy

Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.

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