BLOG 5.14.19. WHY DO I THINK WHAT I THINK? OR DO WHAT I DO?
Occasionally, it is profitable to stop and take stock of our lives, … to ask the ultimate questions—which might well be a frightening experience for some of us. When I was much younger I had, what was probably the most haunting and frightening dream I think I ever had. It was so realistic and traumatic that it is graphic in my mind to this day. It seems that a friend of mine and I were (for some reason) alone on a vast barren and frozen tundra, under grey skies, with no sense of hope or direction, … then to make it all the more traumatic, he died and I was totally alone. I was completely helpless and directionless. Then I awoke … Where do such dreams/nightmares come from?
The poet, (I think it was T.S. Eliot) explored this reality in his classic poem: The Wasteland. He concluded that the wasteland was sitting next to us on the train. But it may be closer than that. Jesus looked at the multitudes in his day and saw them as sheep without a shepherd, helpless, directionless, dependent, and vulnerable to a fault. They were incapable of seeing landmarks or milestones. Without a shepherd, they were lost.
It behooves all of us to regularly, often, to stop and ask the questions: Who am I? What is my future? My hope? What is the purpose or center of my life? Why do I do what I do? Or think what I think? Why do I make the choices that I do? Or do I simply escape into entertainment? Or my cell phone? Or my daily work? … or am I living on that barren tundra without future or horizons? Surviving and waiting for an unknown future.
We also live in a context of clashing ideologies, of ethical challenges, of political platforms that arise from diverse ideologies, self-interests, prejudices, and varying philosophies of what is for the common good. These often clash with the teachings of Jesus. After all, Jesus came, not bringing another religion, but announcing a new creation, which in himself was invading this present creation. In himself God’s future was invading our present. In his life, death and resurrection, God’s tomorrow was invading our today. His message was one in which he named as his disciples those who had his word and practiced it. His teachings were ethical teachings, teachings which gives life meaning … abundant life. Jesus came to renew us in knowledge, and in behavior, and in an intimate relationship with himself (the Triune God).
At a crucial moment in the civil rights movement, when the local authorities accused Martin Luther King, Jr. of violating the local laws, he responded that he appealed to a higher law. In our daily lives, locally, and in a nation torn by many ideologies, we who know our calling, and have the life of Jesus living in and through us, … also appeal to Jesus, our Way and Truth and Life, God in us by the Spirit.
So, Jesus calls us to “abide in him”, to form our thinking and behavior according to his life and his ethical teachings, to enter his future, his new creation. It is that “truth” that sets us free, so that even in the often ‘frozen tundra’ of daily life, we have a future and a hope. Ask yourself: 1) What is my center? 2)What is my authority? 3)What is my creative source? 4) What is my guiding line? And, 5) what is my final goal?
You will find the answer to all of these in the teachings of Jesus, the Great Shepherd.
And may grace and peace be yours.
[If you find these ramblings helpful and provocative, pass the word along. Thanks!]