The Sunday Seuss came to church
Here’s the disclaimer upfront. Dr. Seuss died on September 24, 1991. So, technically, he did not come to church in Harford this past Sunday, September 12th.
One of his quotes did, however.
Seuss never explicitly wrote as a Christian with Christian ideology. This didn’t preclude him in this past Sunday’s sermon because Christian meaning in material that may not be intended as Christian can be used it to the glory of God.
A nugget of theological gold rests in Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Here Seuss writes, “If things start happening, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along and you’ll start happening, too.”
Theological? This? Yes.
Seasoned Christians get what is meant by “things happening.” These things happening aren’t necessarily good, at least at first. Sometimes very bad things are at work. I’ve shared from the pulpit before (and will share again) that I do not believe bad things happen from God. Not everyone agrees. Our Old Testament God shows anger and punishment. But I don’t think this is God, the very One who sent us a lifeline, our Savior. These bad things are a result of our sinful nature.
But Seuss is right. Things start happening. Pieces start coming together. Or, perhaps they have to fall apart before they can come together.
If the pieces are bad, hang on. Look. Listen. Pray. Read scripture. Seek counsel. In doing so, you’ll see God at work even in the rumble and ash of broken lives. This is what this quote means to me. The author who has an entire week dedicated to the reading of his books gives advice. He offers wisdom. Do not worry or stew. Don’t get stuck. Don’t sink.
I repeat what Seuss shares. “Just go right along and you’ll start happening, too.”
This is what Christians do. We move. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The Christian isn’t perfect. We can hold on to what needs to be let go. We can get stuck. Sometimes, we can get really stuck. But we keep going. As Seuss says, we keep happening.
God does make all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Isaiah 43:18-19, Romans 6:4). What once didn’t move eventually gives way. Blocks that once held us back become the very things we step up on to move past situations that, in hindsight, have given us Christian character.
I used this quote because Seuss has a lot to say about wisdom, and wisdom is found in the Book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs is the base for the sermon series called CHRISTIAN CHARACTER which began on Sunday, September 5th.
We Christians know of an active, always present God. This God—our God—is never done with us. To the contrary, God continually provides opportunities, insights, and wisdom. This is not done from a distance. This is done with intimate love and care.
Notice I didn’t say God makes life like Disney World every day. We are not rid of the realities of this world; we just don’t let the harshness blind us from what is coming. What is coming is the best thing ever. Eternal life.
Now I shared something important. I mentioned Christian character. God uses even the grit and the gunk of our lives to draw us to God’s plan for our lives. Even the hardest hit Christians—those who have truly walked a road of suffering—boast and delight in God.
Again, this life isn’t a Magic Kingdom. The next one is. We can make what we’ve been handed into a blessing. To do so takes character.
And that’s the point.
The son of German immigrants, Seuss (who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel) was raised as a Christian. He even attended worship services at his alma maters, Dartmouth and Oxford. Professionally, he never professed his Christian faith. What he did privately is another story.
But in your story, I advise this. Keep going. Keep asking, searching, seeking, reaching, wondering, and doing.
In other words, keep happening.