What We are Meant For

“Where are you going with all this stuff about water and wine?”  It might be tempting to ask.

The question, “What is your point?” Might be hovering around.

The reason I suspect that you might want to be saying those things is because there is something in me—Vosh—that is wanting to ask the same questions.

But those are questions of the hiker, not the explorer.

I think it will be fruitful to explore some connections.  I am not trying to construct a formal argument.  I’m not suggesting that this is an iron-clad, deductively sound doctrine.

That kind-of thing, a hiker’s mentality, a goal-oriented mentality, a desire to construct arguments… It might be equated to a revered symphony.  The goal is in sight.  The emphais is on doing it in the way it’s always been done.

What I’m up to is more like jazz.  Beginning with a riff and seeing where it takes us.  This is not an efficient process.  In our rushed society it can be hard to slow down enough to take these sorts of journeys.  But I believe they are so worth the time we invest.

So bare with me: if water is a metaphor for what our lives are at their worst, then wine, I’d submit, is a metaphor for what our lives are at their best.

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The fact that we long for more than we have says some things about us.  The intensity with which we long for it, this  says some things too.

Not of all of the things that our longing says about us are things to be proud of.  There is the implication that we’re spoiled and whiney, for example.

But there is something else about the fact that we have this belief that things are not the way that they were meant to be.  And while this maybe isn’t something to be proud of, it certainly isn’t something to be ashamed of, either.

We have this feeling that we were made for something more!  Have you ever stopped and thought about that?   I’m not saying that the fact of our longing must mean we have a right to more.  I’m wondering why we feel this way at all.  When we watch the news and watch the terrible unfairness, the rampant unjustness.  When we end a long, thankless day, so very bone-weary, but so far from soul satisfied.  When we do the right thing, and then get burned for it.

We know it’s not supposed to be that way.

On the other hand, there are times when everything just falls into place.  Some times it’s not something we even can put words to, or explain why.  Often times we chase after recreating these times, losing track of the fact that the spontaneity is what made it so amazing in the first place.

We get this sense, some times, that this is how things are supposed to be.

This is different than greed, entitlement, and materialism.  When life is not good, it is like water.  And when it at it’s best, it is like wine.

During our very most peak moments, we get these glimpses of the way things are always supposed to be.  This is what Jesus is about: turning the occasional into the consistent, promising us a return to the life we were made for.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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