not lure you away from elementary truths.
May this adult diet not assume superiority
over the milk on which you first believed.
May you not regard the basics as irrelevant
now that you have advanced to higher levels of thinking.
Rather, may you work out how the verses of infancy
sustain a grown man with grown-up troubles.
May the melding of belief to behavior
continually compel you to consider your beginnings.
May the instances of unmet expectations
and offending words and perceived injustices
crack and split the calcifying skins of yesterday’s faith,
and produce a faith for today’s letdowns and slights and fears.
May those simple creeds said by philosopher and layman alike—
“complete in the fullness of Christ,”
“cast off the sinful flesh,”
and “gift of God, not by works”—
do battle with the discord in your heart,
which seeps in from the world and the flesh and the devil.
May the faith you put in those creeds
be strong enough to penetrate your self-preserving defenses
and the haunts you frequent for control and authority.
May such faith snap the cords that tie you to lofty and debasing roles,
and free you to remember the one who made you to be new now.
May you swallow this faith each day with your daily bread,
down the throat that trumpets ideas;
down like the oxygen that your lungs absorb;
down into the depths of your heart,
the nucleus of all your sensitivities.
Thus upholding you to act without pretending
and feel the Spirit of God claiming you as his own son.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV)