Finding a Way in this Mess

Staff_McDermott, TomTheologian and author Frederick Buechner once said, “When I hear myself talk about my life, it sounds so purposeful and planned. In truth, my life has been more like a dog moving from fire hydrant to fire hydrant. But, looking back, there seems to be some kind of an invisible thread connecting it all.”

“How do I find my way in the world?” “What am I to do with my life at this point in my life?” “What’s my purpose?” “Who am I?” “What can I do to make a difference in the world?”

The questions can often seem cliché, even though we have all asked them at some point in our lives. In fact, many of us find ourselves in the throngs of these questions at multiple points in our lives. And some of us are far clearer about the path we are to take, or are taking, in life.

Of course, finding a way, or cutting a path, assumes there is a way, and a destination, to find. There are a lot of us who set out on life’s course to find our way and have come to the conclusion that we’re still kind of lost. The world can suddenly look as though everything is going down the tubes and all is lost. And being lost doesn’t feel so great. In fact, it can feel really frightening — unless, of course, getting lost is part of the plan (as Gandalf might remind young Frodo in The Hobbit, “All who wander are not lost.”).

The risks are that if we are too arrogant or pious, too confident and intent, about the way we are to make our way in the world, we will likely miss the opportunities to stumble on really great “fire hydrants.” And, on the other hand, if we are too seriously anxious over not having a clear path (too lost in our fear of being lost), we can also miss the “fire hydrant” we’re standing beside in any given moment. In both cases, the fear driving the anxiety over making sure we’re having a life, or even making sure we’re doing the right thing, is a great pattern for missing the thread that connects all of life.

The Psalmist said, “God leads the humble and teaches them what is the holy way.”

Faith may be much less about knowing where you are going and much more about responding to the need, the person, the suffering at hand. And trusting that even stumbling along the way is all part of the thread that connects us to life.

This Sunday, I’m continuing the series, “The Beatitudes — The Art of Being.”

How are we to be in the world today? How should we respond to the needs of our communities and the world? What do the Beatitudes have to teach us today living in a divided, and divisive, reality? Sunday, I delve further into Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and explore the path of “no real path.”

Sunday, February 5

“Where the Streets Have No Name”

Singer-songwriter Christa Russell and Hillary Tips

With eleven:eleven revolution and the music of

Carly Simon and U2

 

Hope to see you then!

Tom

Join me in August 2017 for . . .

The Sacred Spaces Tour of Ireland

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