I really didn't like studying French at school. I mean, what was the point in speaking French in a country town in the middle of County Tyrone?! Well, it just so happens that a couple of French words have been bobbing around my head this month. That's them in the title, "raison d'Ítre".
Many of us will have an idea of what these words imply as the phrase has found its way into our language. This is probably because the English translation just doesn't do these couple of words justice, hence the need for the French ones. So why think about them now? I will come to that in just a minute.
On a brief side issue, it also got me thinking about the words of God to us in the Bible. As these words were originally in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, then our English translations can only do the best they can to bring out the true meaning. I guess that's why they still teach these languages in Bible College! Personally, I also think we need to be careful about labelling one English translation of the Bible as the 'one and only' translation that we all should be using. Let us all be thankful that we have a Bible (or two, or three) in a language we can understand.
So back to "raison d'Ítre" then. In English, its literal translation is "reason for being". In the Oxford English Dictionary, 'raison d'Ítre' is "…the most important reason or purpose that accounts for or justifies someone or something's existence". Or if you boil it down a bit more, it is "…someone's reason for being around".
At the start of a new year, I have a question. What is our raison d'Ítre? What is our reason for being around?
Are we here because of some huge cosmic fluke?
Are we here for a good time before we exit in a wooden box?
Or perhaps it is to have a family and leave behind children to keep the family genes alive for another generation?
Or is it to try and live a life which is pleasing to the God who created us in the first place?
As a typical Aerospace Engineer, I sometimes find myself watching 'Air Crash Investigation' on the National Geographic TV Channel. It's a bit like the nurses I know who are glued to the hospital dramas! Anyway, apart from the technical details behind the actual aircraft crash, what you hear frequently from those fortunate passengers who've escaped is how thankful they are "for another chance". The end of one year and the start of a new one truly is a great time "for another chance".
If you are reading this Thought and feel a little sad when you think about your reason for being around, then you need to hear some good news! The good news is the one told in many churches up and down the land every Sunday… and it is all about love…
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
As a Christian, life has a totally different flavour. You can see things from a different vantage point. Asking God for forgiveness is a humbling experience. Your raison d'Ítre will suddenly align with the God of this universe and life takes on a whole new meaning. Even though problems don't vanish and we're still more than capable of sinning, you will find more peace in your life and you will have an 'honest to God' reason for being around!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. (Isaiah 26:3)
Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year from the Pastor and all the folk at Grove. And please email us if you need help with anything raised in this Thought or anything else on our website.
Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!