This week I am thinking about patterns—how we organize what we see and hear and experience, into thoughts we trust enough to use to anticipate what will come next. Learning to do this is central to what we think of as growing up, becoming adult-like. We learn, early in our lives, that if you drop a glass, it breaks, just about every time. If you don’t pay your taxes or your parking tickets, it’s likely that there will be consequences you’d rather not deal with. If you are kind and generous, you can pretty much count on that attitude being returned to you from other people.
But there are also things that happen to us, or around us, that seem random—unrelated to what we deserve or set in motion. What do we do with this course of nature that seems irrational or accidental? How do we work it in to our understanding of how the world works? Of how God is present in this life?
This will be the topic of my sermon on Sunday, so I’m thinking about it a lot. And in my reading, I came across this quote from Father Louis Bannan, at the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University:
“When I say ‘I believe in God,’ I am making a much bigger claim than simply positing God’s existence…Rather, I am saying something like this: ‘I put my trust in a reality that cannot be grasped or contained or controlled. … [This reality] is exceedingly close to the world in ways that I choose to describe as ultimately good or benevolent or loving. And my relationship to this reality orients me toward the world with hope.’
The drama of our faith tradition says: You are here because you are wanted, intended. Someone believed that you are good. Irreplaceable.
There are worthy alternative stories that may emphasize the randomness of why we are here. So choose which story to put your faith in. Decide which story gives you life.”
(From “The Fragility of Faith: How Can a Thinking Person Still Believe in God?” from Explore, Spring 2014)
Decide which story gives you life. That’s what we do by committing ourselves to a life of faith, when we start walking down this road—even when we are not fully sure of where it will lead.
Have a very good week—a week full of wonder.