(Image courtesy of t2.gstatic.com)
Like countless other people who eat Chinese take out, I received a fortune cookie with my Saturday night order. They’re a novelty I enjoy, but I take no stock in their pithy sayings and proverbial anecdotes. I don’t believe anyone can predict the future and I don’t look to mass produced food items for insight. So you can imagine my surprise to find this little gem waiting inside my fortune cookie:
Look to your inner being for guidance.
Hmm. As I looked at that tiny piece of paper stretched out between my fingers I wondered what it meant. Sometimes fortunes mean nothing, or they are so obtuse that they are comical. This one made me think of a scripture passage I have not read in a long time. A quick search revealed it:
“I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love”
(Ephesians 3:16-17 NRS).
The Letter to the Ephesians has something to say about our inner being. It’s the place where the Holy Spirit, the Advocate Christ himself promises us, dwells as it strengthens us and guide us. There, in our inner being, we are rooted to Christ and grounded in the love of God. Quite a poignant reminder, and to think that it came from a fortune cookie. I had a fifty fifty chance of getting this fortune. My husband took his pick and opened it before me. I don’t know if God takes the time to make little things happen for my benefit. In all honesty, I would rather not know and enjoy the mystery of it. When I take something as mundane as a paper fortune from a cookie and it leads me on a journey into scripture where I find an edifying reminder about the inner strength granted to me by the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but smile. I wonder if Christ is smiling, too.
I believe wholeheartedly that it is the role of every Christian to look at the ordinary of this world and in our daily lives and see the extraordinary, the traces of the divine. Once we see it, we share it, revealing it to others. The entire world if necessary. The way in which Christians can illuminate the world is distinct from all other people, because we see with the light of Christ. Are we to squander that vision? Hide it under a bushel? No, Christ himself derides those who attempt to do so (Mark 4:21). The only problem is that it takes time to pause and look around. It take effort to reflect and consider our surroundings in a new way. It takes energy to share with others and build the kind of relationships that enable such sharing. We can feel overwhelmed and wonder how we will ever be able to do this, and all the other things Christ calls us to do. My advice? Well, we start by looking to our inner being for guidance.