For you will not abandon me to the grave,
Nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
In your presence there is fullness or joy,
And in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
As a teenager, I was often confused during Sunday worship. In effort to rouse the congregation, our minister of music would ask us, “Aren’t you glad God woke you up this morning? Some people didn’t live to see another day, but you did.” And with that, the congregation would rise from their seats in excitement (or maybe, duty). Moments later, as we held hands in prayer and interceded on behalf of the bereaved, someone else would admonish us not to be sad because the one who had died was in a “better place,” free from the burdens of this life.
My adolescent mind couldn’t reconcile these seemingly disparate ideas. One minute, life was good, the next it was simply something to get through? Riddle me this one, Batman.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that being a baptized, often-failing disciple of Jesus, is not black or white, either/or. It’s liminal. It is an in-between time. It’s about living fully as fragile, fleshly human beings in the knowledge that we are on a journey toward wholeness. We can’t get there, without being here. We need both.
But how do we stand with one foot on earth and one marching toward Heaven–not toward fluffy clouds and angelic music, but of being one with the One who created us? How do we finish the good fight, keep the faith?
For one, we could start by listening to voice of the One who calls you and me beautiful—not the voices that tell us our worth can be measured in things. We can fall into the arms of the One who wants nothing more than our heart—the parts that make us leap with joy & the tender, hidden chambers that bring forth nothing but sorrow. Just as we fail, we also rise and press on. It’s a journey of the imperfect being perfected. One laughter, tear, and dream at a time.
As my childhood pastor would declare in his deep, melodic baritone: “I’m going home on the morning train. You’re going home on the morning train. We’re all going home on the morning train. We’re just gettin’ there different ways.”
So we journey on. Stopping and starting, refueling and repairing, loading and unloading. All the while saying goodbye to what was so we can say hello to what is and what will be.
And the God of all creation watches and waits with anticipation.
Reflect upon the past 5 years of your life. What have been your major “stops” along the way? How has God moved in the midst them? Can you dare to dream wildly about where you may be headed next?