Eric's Sunday Sermon; Striving
Just a gal I met on the street trying to make a living.
A special something
There is a measure of a person that permeates the space that they occupy. It is not what they have or even where they have been. It is not what they have achieved or what they know. It is not about the position they occupy or even their health.
There is a something that is about a person. If we could take out an instrument and measure it we would know much about others. It is illusive. If we could take out our camera and capture it we would have the most revealing of all pictures. But this “thing” we speak of is illusive and defies even a description or definition. Even when we see it in others we may not recognize it for what it is. But in fact it is the first thing we should look for and the final thing to appreciate in another.
We humans are biological creatures. We exist for the most part in the physical. We have our natural senses with which we perceive the world. We experience that which we see, touch, smell, hear and taste and it often stops there.
Celebrate diversity in all its glory. There is much that is different among us. And yet there is a similarity and a sameness, perhaps even a oneness of all mankind. We are told of DNA and fingerprints and that every one of us is different and identifiably unique. There is no arguing this point. We each have our own empirically quantifiable “signature” that is our own.
But let us look at something that is a little less concrete yet makes us all completely different. In examining this quality we can actually see our connection with God. For what we will look at is not something we can truly know.
Music is our trying to connect on a different level, try
Just a root trying to keep the tree alive
When the spark goes out for good.
Sometimes when looking at a very illusive idea it is best to look at what it is not. To rule out the possibilities and find the absence of something is when we can learn much about it. When it is gone we can see the absence more clearly than we can see the presence. In us humans there is one such thing and that is the spark of life. While we wish it on nobody, seeing a person die is a very illuminating experience. The body does not transfigure in the physical. A dead person can look just like a sleeping person. Certainly time will take its toll and soon the blood will not be present in the skin tissue and a pallor sets in and on and on, but we speak here of the moment upon which there is no more life in the body. It looks the same. But not really.
What is missing? Well of course life is missing. It is not a human sense type thing that notices the absence of life. We pick up the absence of life through a something else. The spark is gone. While it is palpable it is not physical. Somehow we sense life. There is some kind of energy that is not perceivable by the senses but is never the less a real presence. For good reason we can understand that concept. Being living creatures we can know where life is present. It just is. It is as though our life energy can connect with another’s life’s energy.
Water always strives to run down hill
Now onto the child.
Learning for children brings about a certain type of energy. You can quite literally see the learning going on in their eyes, if you look. A quizzical look, of concentration and the process of understanding. This is true whether the endeavor be play, sports or book learning or class room learning. In a classroom full of children you will notice a difference in energy from task to task. The energy is different when they are practicing what they already know from the energy when they are learning something new. The energy changes from play time to singing a song time and from group reading time to clean up time. You can literally see the sparks in their eyes. It changes.
Back to the absence. Perhaps you can remember or perhaps in your adulthood you have witnessed a child that has given up. It is the saddest thing in the world. Thank God that normally in youth it passes as quickly as it set in. 100 times trying. 200? Sometimes a child just cannot master a skill. It is heartbreaking to watch. This becomes especially true when others have mastered it in front of the child. As an aside, I think this is why God gave children short attention spans. More often than not a child will become bored and move on to something else before total discouragement sets in. Normally so will the other children.
But back to that spark. There again in the child’s eyes we can see the spark and energy of trying fade from their eyes. When they are truly beaten the spark goes out. It is a hollow sad and forlorned look.
Enough of this downer talk of the absence of the spark, let us move on to the good stuff.
Catch a painted pony
The spark of learning
I met a very interesting octogenarian the other day. He was most assuredly a man of God. A Christian fellow and extremely learned in the ways of religion and scripture and faith. He definitely had a connection with Jesus. I asked him a few questions and he was sharp with quotations and references and some personal experience thrown in that was entertaining and instructive. The guy had been there and done that and had his answers. But something was missing about him. Being the busy body that I am I asked him “what are you working on now?”. He looked at me and asked what I meant. I responded by saying “what are you learning about now?” He responded by stating that he was too old to learn anything new. In that second I saw what was missing in his eyes. Life! Oh do not get me wrong he was plenty alive in the physical and seemingly healthy. But something in his eyes reminded me of the little boy who had just given up. Truth be told perhaps it was a memory of a time in which I had given up as a child.
How about you?
Is there something in your life that you are striving for today?
Where do we go from here?
All of that and I am just getting down to business here. God bless you for your patience in reading thus far.
God wants us to try. Not a try like in a past tense. Not a try like we are accomplishing anything, though we hope we do. Nope God is not worried about our little accomplishments in the day to day. With God there is not even a race to be won. God wants us to tie up our running shoes of life and enter the race every day without eyes on the prize. We are not to “get there”. We must stoke our fires and keep trying to move forward. We must reach down deep inside and keep our spark alive. Believe it or not that spark is a choice.
For those of you who care to follow a thought we go back to our beginning. That which truly makes us different and special in the eyes of our Lord is a life force within us. That life force is most present when we strive. We each try in our own special way. My effort is different than your effort. My overcoming struggles is different than your overcoming. We are blessed with our own little soul print. Perhaps today you can look in other’s eyes and look for that something special and see it and feel it. It is special and it is a connection with God.
Just yesterday I found myself saying to my young son. “I do not care how well you can do it, I care how well you try”. How much more so must our Father in heaven want us to try.
So nowadays in my prayers I do not ask for things for people or even outcomes. I have been down that road so often that I have finally learned that what I can even wish for is far less than what God can make possible. Nowadays I pray for that spark to be present in those I pray for. When we stop trying in our love it begins to die. We must strive. It is in our striving that we allow that spark that God has so freely given to shine its brightest like the light on a hill.
Perhaps now you can understand when I pray for you to have strife.