Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Seeking the Way

From September-June the clergy in town do a rotating faith column in the local paper. I was on tap for next week's issue. HEre is what I came up with.

Sometimes it is hard to know which way to go. The maps may be unclear. Or we may not even have a map. Or we may not really be sure where we are trying to get to. But we get to the crossroad and we wonder. How do we get there from here?

This is what it is often like trying to live as the people of God. Amidst all of the voices pounding in our ears, among all the “suggestions” of which way to go, it can be painfully difficult to make out the Word of God. Now sometimes it is easy. Sometimes the path is clear, the choice is obvious. But most of the time it is hard.

There are many ways to seek God’s will. Certainly prayer and silence are important. Trying to discern what is right for the whole Creation (not just ourselves) is important. But I think that the most important thing about trying to hear God is being ready to let go of what we already think.

Have you ever tried to give directions to someone who is sure they know how to get to their destination? I am convinced that God has the same problem. Sometimes we are so sure we know what God wants we ignore all hints to the contrary. This is why we have to look and listen closely. What I have found is that much of the time the harder path, the more unknown path, is where God is calling us.

“Take the hard path,” God says. Take that path which makes you change. Take the path that leads to a world reborn, where all Creation can flourish. And here is the rub. To take that path means giving up. It means giving up on our assumption that what benefits us is always right. It means giving up our comfortable seats.

In many ways the world we live in is broken. The economic system is broken, the environment is breaking, the connections between neighbours are being shattered on a regular basis. What path does God offer out of the chaos?

The irony is that the hard path leads further in. The hard path means rethinking how our economy works (or doesn’t work). The hard path means that we will do less with less. The hard path means that in the short term people will get hurt. But the long-term promise is that a new economy will be born, a new sense of living with (as opposed to on) the Earth will be born, and people will move past individualism and nationalism into a newfound sense of community.

The world is at a crossroad. The world needs to change direction. There is a lot of noise trying to drown out God. There is a lot of noise insisting that variations on the old path will make it work. But cutting through the noise, if we choose to listen, is God calling us on a new path. Which way will we go?

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