Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Given Life

There are several big issues that members of my church are facing right now.  As a pastor, it is a reminder that life is not easy and simple or nice and neat.  Although it is wise to plan, there is no way to control things so that our plans come to pass.  There is no way to keep the unexpected from coming to pass--especially when the unexpected is difficult, challenging and seemingly earth shattering.

It during times like this that I like to reflect on the last line of Wendell Berry's poem "I think of Gloucester, blind, led through the world," which is about new birth,
We live the given life, and not the planned.
It is good to be reminded that the life of new birth, is a life that springs forth from the death of the son who is raised and exalted to the right hand of his father.  The new life found in the son is born out of the context of death and suffering, but leads to exaltation.

What makes it possible for us to live the given life rather than the planned life is a faith that grasps hold of grace--grace that is rooted in the fact that the given life we live is simultaneously the planned life decreed by God for us to live.

The reality of life is that more often than not our plans will not work out the way we hope--when that is the case, how will you respond?  Focus on the fact that the planned life is not coming to pass?  Or rely on the grace to live the life given in the power of the new birth?

(Ye must be born again.)

I think of Gloucester, blind, led through the world
To the world’s edge by the hand of a stranger
Who is his faithful son. At the cliff’s verge
He flings away his life, as of no worth,
The true way lost, his eyes two bleeding wounds—
And finds his life again, and is led on
By the forsaken son who has become
His father, that the good may recognize
Each other, and at last go ripe to death.
We live the given life, and not the planned.

1 comment:

  1. This is very helpful for me. It's something I have been thinking about lately, that is very well put, the given life and not the planned. I haven't read any Wendell Berry. Yet.

    Thanks for sharing that!