Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Light of Light
over the christmas holidays, a young student friend stayed with us for a couple of nights. after he left, my wife told me he had talked with her about his current girlfriend, who is roman catholic, though her family are not “practicing” catholics. he and she have been worshiping in our presbyterian church for several months, and she enjoys our service, which is formal by presbyterian standards, but not “liturgical” in the roman catholic sense.
his problem is that his father is a conservative evangelical minister who believes that his son is endangering his “immortal soul” by dating a young roman catholic woman, and while our young friend disagrees with his father, he is disturbed that his romance is upsetting to his parents. my wife wisely counseled him to respect his parents but to be true to his heart. this young love may not last, and both our young friend and his romantic interest may go their separate ways in a few months, but in the meantime, he should follow where his heart leads him my wife gently advised.
as she and i discussed this young man’s dilemma, i began to think about how my views have evolved over the years. when i was young, i was convinced that God had a “plan” for each and every life, that if one could discern what that plan was one would be in absolute harmony with “God’s will.” i was a convinced calvinist and spent much time praying and worrying about making decisions that were consistent with “God’s will for my life.” as my life has unfolded, i am less and less convinced of this philosophy.
here’s where i am now: i AM convinced that God loves all of God’s creation, collectively and in it’s myriad parts. i believe that God is always present in that creation, but i don’t believe that God has a “plan” for my life or any other, beyond loving me (and us) and desiring me (and us) to love others. i don’t believe God causes disease or catastrophes, but rather, that God set the natural order in motion and things happen, sometimes because we interfere with the natural order and sometimes because things just happen. when bad things happen, God is there to comfort and to suffer and grieve with us, just as God is there to celebrate the joys with us. my most fundamental belief is that there is a God who loves and cares for us, that God is light and in God there is no darkness. beyond that, God allows us to stumble through our lives, always calling us to love and care for one another, never giving up on us, always hoping that, in the midst of evil, greed, and the lust for power, there will be those among us who go on loving because God loves us.
my prayer for each of us this day is that we will continue to believe that “love conquers all,” that good eventually prevails, that on the whole life is joyful, and that we must each strive to hear the still, small voice within us that calls us back from the brink of the darkness to the light of loving-kindness that is eternal. shalom.