At the moment, we are muddling through a book by Leslie Newbigin titled Christ Our Eternal Contemporary. It is one of those books where you read a paragraph, then re-read it because it is so heady, then take a break because your head hurts from thinking so hard about what you just read.
Anyways, this week we read a chapter that caused a bit of an existential crises for me. The gist of the message was that there are two camps of thought about our lives on earth. Basically the one says that we are here to advance the whole, but our lives are expendable in the process. The other is that what matters is the human person. As he writes, "The only thing that really matters is that in the little span of life that is given to him, he himself becomes or achieves something significant."
To me one seemed nihilistic (we don't matter) the other seemed self-serving (we're all that matter.)
It kind of got me down until later in the chapter where it all made sense in two phrases. One by Albert Schweitzer that reads: "Every act of a Christian should be an acted prayer for the coming of the kingdom." Newbigin goes on to say, "That is the true Christian understanding of action."
The other sentence was "Everything that we have, everything we do with all our hearts, is offered to him in the faith...the faith that God is able to make out of this the offering of the new heaven and the new earth.
Those two sentences talked me off the ledge, so to speak.
I started thinking about the ramifications of our mundane day to day things and how it may have long lasting impacts.
- How going to work allows me to raise kids who can be part of some of the solution to some of the problems that my generation created. This goes for my mother as she did for us and her mother for her.
- How giving $5 to a homeless person might lead to him/her buying beer or cigarettes. Or, they might use it to buy a sandwich. Is one wrong? Maybe. I can hope and pray for that person to use it for good, but good to them may be something that helps them through the day. Give for giving sake.
- My vote matters. If my candidate doesn't win, I walk away with a clear conscience. I still pray for whoever is in office. Some terms I pray harder than others. LOL.
- What I say, what I create, what I consume or don't consume, my attitude and energy -positive or negative - all matters and has an impact. Choose wisely.
- That saying nothing is sometimes okay. In fact a lot of times it's better than saying anything at all, especially if what you're saying is tearing someone down.
- That walking my dog daily gives him such joy that comes back to me in his unending love for me. Stupid small stuff, I know, but it's all part of life and is one of my favorite parts of my day to gather my thoughts.
Of course I had much greater plans for this post. When I was formulating the thoughts earlier today, I had some great ideas on how to extrapolate out simple things becoming much bigger. Most of them escape me now, but suffice it to say that if you look hard enough, it's all there. Having faith makes it a little easier to keep it all in perspective too.
And so my existential crisis had been averted for now. And I can thank God for that.