Annual event spurs renewal of basic tenets to follow in life


POSTED: Saturday, February 14, 2009

One of the most moving events at Arcadia is our annual memorial service. For me it's a special time to reflect again on those friends who have left us. And, during this time, I always remember a dear resident and friend who, several years ago, asked me just before she left us, “;What do you think it will be like?”;

Reflecting during the memorial service, I do wonder what it is like for those who have left us. Although we're reminded time and again that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him, there are two simple questions that I've remembered over the years. When it's all been said and done, He'll ask you: “;Did you go my way, child? Did you know my Son?”;

Like many people, I want to be able to say yes to both questions. I resolve year after year to be able to answer yes to these two simple but demanding questions.

Lest you think this is the only resolution I make, rest assured I have a host of other less important resolutions, most notably my annual resolutions to lose weight and exercise more.

But resolving to answer yes to these two important questions is not easy. Remarkable in its simplicity and in the capacity to change and enrich one's life, we are often frustrated in holding to this resolution by our own spiritual inadequacy, foolish choices and disregard of the way we must live.

Over a decade, with the help of the fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Sunday school classes at Central Union Church, we learned 20 tenets that enable us to say yes to those questions.

We learned through Moses and the “;shorthand”; of the 10 Commandments how to nurture our relation with God and how to conduct ourselves with others:

1. There is only one God.
2. No idols.
3. No swearing.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. No killing.
7. No adultery.
8. No stealing.
9. No lying.
10. No coveting the belongings of others.
Jesus taught us that the Ten Commandments depend on the two greatest commandments:
11. We must love God above all.
12. We must love our neighbors as ourselves.
In the Sermon on the Mount, God's son urged us to embrace the following beatitudes:
13. Be humble.
14. Be understanding.
15. Be gentle.
16. Be just.
17. Be merciful.
18. Be honest.
19. Be peaceful.
20. Be faithful.

How simple and beautiful these 20 basic tenets are. But how difficult it is to say that we have followed them on a daily basis without admitting to slip-ups. Indeed, it's not a bad resolution to devote your life to, year by year. Think about it and join me in a New Year's resolution that never gets old.


Emmet White is president and chief executive officer of Arcadia Retirement Residence.