This morning we take some time to honor Kathryn
(Kathryn asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to our Church or the charity of your choice)
Most of us don’t always or often spend our lives thinking about the big, unknowable mysteries of living. It is when we experience loss or big life challenges that we come back to those basic questions that we have pondered from the beginnings of existence. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do? Is there more?
The Mystery of living. The Mystery of dying. The Mystery of God (or whatever a person, or group of persons, chooses to call this Mystery).
It is during these times that we reflect on life. We wonder. It is from these questions and wonderings and pondering that we begin to open to deeper wisdom. We turn what we know, and don’t know, into knowledge then as we study, think, and reflect to something even deeper than knowledge. Wisdom.
Wisdom has a sneaky was of not giving answers, but giving Answers. Wisdom has this way of being something different for each of us through different stages. But the core Truth is the same. That’s wisdom.
Peter Enns seemed to lay it out in a very accessible way. He’s talking about accessing the wisdom of the Bible, but we can apply it here too. He says: “The Bible is an invitation to join an ancient, well traveled, and sacred quest to know God, the world we live in, and our place in it.” These are the questions that rise up when we stand before the Unanswerable. The Mystery.
God, the world we live in, and our place in it. When was the last time you pondered these questions? Sometimes, we’re afraid to ask these questions. We might avoid them because we’re worried that we might dig up something we don’t want to explore. We might find that answers that worked for us before are no longer true. We don’t want to find ourselves on unsteady ground and alone while we reestablish a new Truth.
I’m giving you permission to ask as we stand before the Mystery of living and dying. Who is God? What is God? Maybe you’ve never asked before. Maybe you’re asking again. Maybe you’ve asked a hundred times. Maybe you’re constantly asking. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok. Ask. God won’t be offended.
What does God mean to you? What is God’s place in your life? What do you call God? Where do you find God? Where does God find you? These are deep questions. Be ok with however it unfolds for you this morning.
We are all on a sacred quest to know God.
When was the last time you pondered the world we live in? No, I don’t mean the cursory glance at the news and then a cry of “what is going on in the world?” I’m not talking about looking and then then moving on, maybe at a run. Im not talking about a peek at the surface level and then getting pulled down into it and the miserableness that seems to be getting sold to us. I’m talking about a deep look and then questioning.
What is this world we live in? Where is God? What is God’s plan? Again, it’s ok to ask. It might, on first glance, seem so chaotic and crazy and wild…and scary. But ask why? What is the purpose of what seems to be an out of control world? What happens if you dig deeper? I would argue that Enns is right, part of our job is to ask these questions. To be on a sacred question to know the world we live in.
Have you given up on the world? Have you stopped watching or engaging? Have you stopped exploring? Does it feel too hopeless? Does it feel too scary? Does it feel unfixable?
Is it that bad? If so, why is it that bad?
If we give up on the world, have we given up on God? What is God’s plan for the world? How is God supporting the world? How is God leaving the world for us to change? Why is the world the way it is?
Sometimes, I think it’s a reminder to come together. Maybe to remember that it’s not so bad. To see that the world we live in is pretty Good. Remember the wind storm up here? That seemed crazy and wild and out of control. I have to admit, I questioned. I was beginning to wonder if it was another part of the beginning of the end of the world. It was scary and it made me wonder.
But then, out of that, we realized how important our Church is. So many people stopped by and reached out when we offered coffee and donuts and a short, no power prayer service that Sunday.
Our neighbors were helping neighbors. Our neighbors created the Neighbor’s Group. That network is exactly what we needed for Covid. Without that terrible wind storm, we would not have built that network that is still functioning as we speak.
We are all on a sacred quest to know the world we live in.
What is our place in this world? Why are we here? Now? What is God’s intention for us? I might not fully understand it, but I truly believe we are all put on this earth in this place and this time with these people for a reason. What is our place? Do we have big Work to do or little work to do? Are we meant to create big ripples or little ripples that keep on spreading? Where are we effective and where are we ineffective?
We are all on a sacred quest to know our place in the world.
To know ourselves. To really know our self.
These are scary quests.
This is wisdom. To be brave enough to ask the difficult questions. To seek for God. To seek for the world we live in. To seek for our place in the world. This is the quest. A quest is to explore and every hero’s (heroine’s) quest is to step out of the ordinary and familiar…to be challenged.
That which is outside of the ordinary and familiar is always scary. We don’t want to ask. We might find answers we don’t want to explore. But if we do not ask, we lose to fear. We become stuck. We might feel safe. We might be comfortable. But we do not change. We do not become wise.
Sometimes, it helps to remember that God is constant. God does not change, maybe our relationship to God changes, but God is constant. We could argue that the world does, and does not, change, but our relationship to our world definitely changes.
We, definitely, change.
Or do we?
Can we be brave enough to ask the difficult questions as we stand before the Mystery of God, of life, and of ourselves?
Photo Credit: Dominika Roseclay