A Step Along The Way [Prayer for Oscar Romero]
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
This last line resonates within me. I have met a wonderful cast of characters in the past six months who have, in our intense discussions and arguments, shown me many of my formerly unknown unknowns. While I may not believe in the Kingdom of God that the Bishop who wrote this homely did, I have realized how far out my vision the future is. The unknown unknowns that my new found friends showed me also showed me how much of the present world, what is happening right now all around the world, is beyond my present vision. The past few months have challenged me to examine almost every aspect of my life and question many things I used to believe firmly. They have shown me things about the world I never would have guessed. There is a beauty to the world that I find for the first time. Ironically, this period of intense questioning as ended my years long angst filled quest to “find myself.”
I feel that when I stopped needing to impress people with wit or conversation skills I found myself more curious about those around me. I began to listen more intently and found common ground with people with whom I had nothing more in common with than the fact that we were both human, making our way through the world. I found out a lot about myself too. I learned that care about listening to other people’s truth. I care about my principles. I care about doing the right the thing. I care about the people I’ve met and relationships I’ve built.
I find this quote to be very liberating. It always me to comfortable with what a friend once called “my potential for small greatness.” He was referring to doing create work on a small scale. I don’t need to move mountains to make a difference. I just need to seek out seeds in need of watering, injustices in need of correcting and a cause worth fighting for. I’m not sure what seeds I’ll tend to yet but the fact that I know longer buy into the idea that I need to fundamentally transform the world on my own takes to pressure off finding it today. I think instead I will try exploring the world to find what it has to teach me and drop as much water as I can each step a long the way.
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