Sunday, January 18, 2009

no regrets

The word of the Lord was rare in those days, and visions were not widespread. —1 Samuel 3:1

This line from today's Old Testament reading made me chuckle and think to myself: Yep, and that word is even more rare in these days. It struck me too, that though it was Eli who recognized that it was God calling Samuel, what God actually had to say ended up not being such good news for Eli. Irony abounds throughout the Bible. Throughout Life.

In his sermon, our celebrant tied all of the readings together as a central theme: the call from God. He went on to explore the struggles we have with this thing we call "belief"... how do we deal effectively with the doubts of those around us, as well as the internal doubts we may harbor in secret?

In the New Testament lesson, Nathanael's prejudice gets in the way of his believing. "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Instead of being insulted, though, Jesus praises him for being so straightforward.

Our celebrant related two stories: one about Joan Chittister, OSB, the Roman Catholic nun and widely acclaimed author, lecturer and retreat leader. When asked, she said that even though she may go to her grave unsure about some things, those doubts did not diminish her devotion to Jesus.

In another story a religious scholar was asked about his belief in the afterlife... what if it really was all a lie? His answer is one that I would echo in my own experience. He said he would bet his life on it. And if it isn't true, he still wouldn't change a thing and would have no regrets.

Is there really life on the other side of the grave? Do I care? I'm pretty sure there are those who care a lot, but I don't think I'm one of them. This life is pretty awesome as it is. If belief in God and trust in Jesus serve to make my own individual experience of humanity one where I strive to be compassionate, kind, forgiving, generous... all those things I actually do strive for (and fall short of) then it's been more than worth it. 

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