MORE THOUGHTS 9
Sometimes it seems as if we inhabit so many different worlds. To name some, there is the world of politics, the world of economics, the world of pandemics and health concerns, the world of the environment and climate change concerns, the world of cultural diversity, the church, of faith in its many expressions. Maybe you can imagine this like a Venn diagram where each of these is a circle and the circles may overlap but also have their separate spaces. Where do we stand in all of this? It can feel as if sometimes these worlds have hard edges which may knock into us, even knock us off course at times. We may wonder where we fit into the complicated worlds that surround us every day, or how they can inform us. What is it that shapes us most?
We cannot possibly understand everything that is going on. One of the features of our times is that knowledge has become very specialized, so we rely on other people to interpret things for us. Even then we may not be sure what can be trusted. Think how quickly the term “fake news” became part of what we were hearing about! Conspiracy theories spread alarmingly fast.
As people of faith, we have many things that keep calling us back to the centrality of Christ, and to our focus on following his way as disciples in our times. When other things may threaten to throw us off course, we experience how God waits for us, like sons and daughters as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and comes running to embrace us as we turn back to God again. As people of faith we may be able to look to the stories of faith and the traditions that have shaped us. We may look one another, share in worship, in prayer and in praise, and, in all of these, become more aware of our roots and what gives us strength.
We look to the Scriptures and find in them the wisdom, the power and the guidance that also act like signposts in a confused world. Yet even the Scriptures need us to reflect on how we interpret them in a world that is very different from the one, thousands of years ago, in which they were written. We may read the wonderful words about the creation and all that it holds and know that the understanding of how all of this is framed differently in our world of different scientific knowledge. Yet we also know that that doesn’t alter the fact that we know that all of life has its source in God whose work of creation is ongoing, everywhere, always. Words such as we read in the psalms pull us back to affirming that, even with all that may be going on with politics, economics, justice issues, violence, famine, climate change, or whatever, we say that “the world is the Lord’s and everything in it, the earth and all God’s peoples”. So maybe this also reminds us to focus on the commandment that crosses through all the different “worlds”, cultures, disagreements, and conflicting voices and calls us to love God, our neighbour and ourselves. If we really do that, we can’t go far astray.
4 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Ch 4.