The Art of the Story (5 of 5)

Compositional Nihilism is the belief that the only things that actually exist, exist sub-atomically – everything else is just a cause and effect permutation of that reality. Therefore, the events of your life, which you commonly interpret as having purpose and meaning, are just an illusion – your life is nothing more than the incidental happenstance of a meta-script being written on a subatomic level. I can’t think of anything more antithetical to the way we actually live our lives than this philosophy.

We are far more inclined to view each event in our life as contributing to our personal history, making us who we are as individuals. In this way, it could be said, that we tend to see our lives as an unfolding story – a story filled with discernable characters and themes. And whereas, there is much we’d like to edit and revise, we can’t help but feel our story has a point – a purpose. With this in mind – just how intentional are you about the way your story is being told?

Whether you know it or not, you tell your story with every choice you make, in the way you conduct every relationship, and in how your time and treasure is spent. It is in the memories you create with those who know you best, it is found in the way you rise to each challenge, and it is measured by the grace and love, for which you are known. These are not merely the happenstance of impersonal forces – they are how you tell your story. So what kind of story-teller are you?

captura-de-pantalla-2015-07-09-a-las-7-56-58-1Simultaneously, there is also a larger narrative at work, a narrative that your story is intended to play a role in – it is a story only God can tell.  All of the grand themes are present – good and evil; love and hate; light and darkness . . . and the role of your story in this larger narrative is to navigate these grand themes by faith . . . in doing what is good, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6: 8). In this way our life’s story is meant to bear witness to this larger story being told, contributing our fleshed out details of this grand narrative.

God speaks the universe into existence, which is only the first few stanzas of this grand narrative – so we can only imagine the depth and beauty of the story that follows must be on a scale beyond all comprehension . . . and yet we are invited to tell our portion of it. It is a love story of grace and reconciliation, where we are both the ones being reconciled to God, and agents of his reconciliation — so that by design, all of our story lines are converging, seeking to be in God’s presence . . . together.

Here’s a song from one of my favorite story tellers . . .
reminding us that it’s a slow turning from the inside out


The Art of Sojourning (4 of 5)

“Home is where the heart is” – what a wonderfully ambiguous old adage! Does it mean that home isn’t about a fixed location at all, but rather is the ability to feel at home no matter where we are? Or does it mean that home is a fixed location that we have a resident longing for, no matter where we are? Or is it actually possible to be both at the same time — and what if this phenomenon is exactly what it means to live a life of faith . . . what do you think that would look like?

In many ways I see this as the native confession of my faith. On one hand, there is a larger framing of my life where I know myself to be an ambassador (2 Cor. 5: 20), advocating on behalf of a different realm, a realm that by faith, I claim to be my home. And on the other hand, I make my home in the life I’ve been given, living by faith in the presence of God, fully believing that my home is wherever he is (Psalm 90: 1). So I see myself as a pilgrim, my whole life is about making my way home to a specific destination – and as a resident, fully embracing the place God has me now.

This is what makes sojourning such an art form – learning to live fully in the moment, while not allowing that moment to define you; learning to be content and at peace with every circumstance, while unwaveringly embracing your longing for what should be. It is amidst these very tensions where our faith attempts to navigate us to an understanding of how to prioritize our lives. And the priority that keeps rising to the top, is our need to pursue our relationships more deeply — with God and others.

20160312185445095Without the stabilizing effects of relationship, our sojourning either devolves into a stagnate waiting around for our real life to begin, or a superficial pre-occupational drifting through life.  But this really isn’t that surprising – because when we think of home, we think of the place where we are known and loved . . . by those we know and love the most. So it only makes sense that if sojourning is about discovering what it means to be home, and being home is about the relationships we find there – then sojourning is best understood as a celebration of those relationships.

So then, it is in my faith in God where I hear the call to come home, and learn to abide in his presence everywhere I go. And everywhere I go I find myself in relationship with others who are trying to figure out what it means to sojourn through this life. So I share with them, all of the beauty and the wonder of the home I have found – inviting them to make their way home, so that they might be known and loved in the way, only their hearts can understand. “Home is where the heart is” might not strike you as being a theological axiom – but I assure you that it is . . .

I have always been transfixed by the simplicity and meloncholy beauty
of this Bruce Cockburn song of sojourning