All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, SC
February 20, 2005
The world has managed to achieve some extraordinary things over the course of our lives. In the span of a century, the history of humanity is laced with extraordinary feats that could only be imagined in science fiction of earlier centuries; stuff right out of Buck Rogers! Manned space travel is no longer a once-in-a-lifetime breathtaking experience that produces wide-eyed amazement. Currently, the lack of food and diminishing oxygen aboard the orbiting space station has not raised a global concern that in years past may have galvanized the people of the world. Pictures from far flung moons and planets light years away boggle the mind, and yet there is the sense there is absolutely no limit to what humanity can accomplish.
On earth we are exploring and mapping the seas to harvest the enormous nutrients that may be needed to sustain us. We are probably only a few years away from sustainable artificial hearts; other organs are routinely transplanted, and harvesting those organs effectively coordinated. The geneticist responsible for ''Dolly'' has been given permission by the British government to go ahead with human cloning. Why are we not surprised? We are moving at such an amazing speed of change and innovation. The only thing we can count on is change itself.
But our faith informs the left side of our brain and our hearts that there is far more to life, under the surface, than what captures our imagination on the surface. Particularly in this season of Lent, matters of faith vie for our attention in a world intoxicated by our ability to create and be creative. Humanity has stepped to the forefront of history, and has said collectively, "There is nothing we cannot do, dreams will be realized tomorrow, we are firmly in control of our destiny;" and yet our faith tells us that is simply not true. Faith tells us that we are co-creators in a world that we share, that we are really stewards of what we call our island home, and if we look close enough, underneath the bravado of humanity is the realization that the fabric of life hangs together by a thread; that all things, even the simplest function or the most profound, are part of a much larger organic whole.
The last frontier of humanity is not the depths of the ocean or distant unnamed solar systems awaiting our collective creative and intellectual genius, it is the untapped reaches of our hearts and souls. Our intellectual capacity and psychological awareness will only take us so far, and then we must manage to explore the spirit of our lives; the deepest recesses where we live most profoundly and have our most important conversations; for me that has everything to do with the sense of my own salvation through Jesus Christ. I believe that God, in Christ, loves me completely and without reservation. That is neither an intellectual statement nor an emotional guess as to what I may believe; it says everything about my own sense of self and Christ in my life and what I do believe!
I believe at our deepest level there is a desire to be at peace not only with our neighbor and with God, but also with ourselves and that we desire a life that is not a series of episodic fits and starts that give the illusion of peace and salvation. Often we are our own relentless worst critics, habitually beating ourselves up for the sake of being perfect. The spirit within us urges us to embrace that peace that passes all understanding, that God does love us more than we can ever imagine, and yet for unfathomable reasons we can't figure out, we ignore and sometimes even reject the love of God. We know at some level that Christ came into the world to save sinners; at some level we understand that Christ offers an invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden and I will refresh you." and yet our humanity can't quite get its arms around that. It is not that we don't trust God's love; it is that nagging feeling of our own unworthiness to receive the love of God. ''How can God love me?"
The maddening thing is that God does love us at a depth we cannot imagine, and that God is relentless in coming into our lives with that immeasurable grace. It will be the spirit of our lives that will teach us to trust ourselves with God, not our intellect, nor our emotions -- rather the spirit within us that lies at the deepest level of our being. The last frontier.
to top of page ...
If there is no navigation bar present at the left of the screen, click here.