"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
The above quote is part of a longer discourse about Jesus speaking difficult teachings. Peter's response is one that I have quoted to myself in those dark days when I have wanted to throw in the towel on Christianity and become a practicing Hedonist - or possibly a member of the 'Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster' as I hear they have awesome Potluck Suppers.
But this time was different, instead of hearing an implied 'if you change your interpretation of Christianity you are on a fast track to Hell', this time I heard a simple question. What have been words of Eternal Life for you?
The phrase that immediately came to mind was 'Always remember that you are much loved'. The source of this quote was the series of books 'Duncton Wood' by author William Horwood. The books are an exploration of Faith and the clash of Dogmatism vs Contemplative Life.
I've always been moved by William Horwood's writing, the Duncton Series and his novel Skallagrigg are ones that I never tire of reading. When I moved to the U.S. I made sure I included all of them in my suitcase. But why does a quote from a fictional series about the lives of moles come to mind when I think about words of eternal life?
Remembering we are loved, no matter what messages the world, our circumstances, our past, our self, and even our faith shouts at us is one way that we can bring life into whatever hellish circumstances we may find ourselves in. Many of the interwoven stories in 'Duncton Wood' are brutal, but the moles make it through by remembering that they are loved.
Writer Henri Nouwen's core message was that we are the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God. Nothing is strong enough to take away that identity from us, and that we need to do nothing to claim it, it is interwoven into our very D.N.A.
'Always remember that you are much loved' are words that pour life into me.
What words pour Eternal life into you?
What life giving words have you spoken to others this week?