The Call of a Lifetime. A Slow Listening.

Our call is not to get things done. The purpose of our living is not to accomplish things.

We live and breathe within an intense temptation in our time and place to believe that what is not true is precisely the case.

But our call, instead, is to engage in projects of lasting significance, whose beginning we did not witness and whose end we will never see. Our call is to take our own place, as one of many, of no singular significance ourselves, but still vital to the whole. Our call is to do our part to move forward the human enterprise, to recognize and celebrate and sacrifice for the generations-long undertakings that deepen our appreciation of the dignity of all and the worth of every individual.

“Carpe diem”? No. Rather seize your life as a whole, as one piece of fabric woven into the whole God-given story of humankind on the surface of this planet in the midst of the swirling galaxies.

Or perhaps better: seize this day, yes. But only as one in the company of all the days that have gone before and all those yet to come. Let this day take its place among them all. But let it not reign in tyranny over any of the others.

The things that clamor for your attention today are petty noise-makers striving to drown out an eternal song, one that is deeper and lasts forever, whose first note was struck by the Spirit at creation.

It is only in humming that tune, simple and harmonious and lasting through all todays, that you or I will know ourselves as children of God, as brothers and sisters of one another, and as fellow laborers in the work – not of accomplishing anything today – but of becoming over a lifetime and more one with the one project of God.

For today and for the rest of your days, the world will be calling you – through any of its innumerable agents – to do more, to be more, to talk more, to plan more, to make more.

No.

Your call is set your compass by a further horizon, one that you cannot even see with the naked eye, but that your heart and mind know is there. Keep your focus there and you will move at the just pace in the just direction toward your true goal.

(And yes admittedly, drive a number of folks batty in the process).

J. McGinty
1/21/15

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Prayer for a New Year

There is a temptation to begin

by admitting to You the truth

that it will not take long for us

to mess up royally again.

Already, eight hours into the newness

there is no doubt

(though I have not heard it) that the

oldness rolls on,

that war continues

and that there is violence

and selfishness

and misunderstanding

and all the rest

already (or still) with us.

And yet.

And yet as you do each day

you have brought a new thing

to be this day.

It is cooly bright

and frigid in this sector

of the planet

and it shimmers with its newness.

Behind all that we have dirtied

beneath the grime and mineral crust

something new and tender is

already born

and seeks a voice.

The first day of this new year

brings hopes and plans

and renewed commitments

that are not entirely rational.

And so what?

Who would want a world that could be

summed up as ‘entirely rational’?

There would not for long be room in it

for us combination beings:

spirit and flesh

peacemakers and warriors

givers and takers

believers and doubters

as we are.

You did not want such a world,

but rather a time and place

more fascinating

more complex

more difficult;

tougher to shepherd

and harder to understand.

And so.

Here we are

on the first day of the year.

As we mess up

we dare to ask you:

make us new too, like the day,

like this year;

make us shine like the first light

of dawn;

give us your strength to rise

as many times as we fall this year,

and once more;

give us the Heart to beat within us

that You sent without protection,

that was rent and torn

and still bears the scars

and still loves as widely wildly

as ever.

Let us be with you this year

and know it to be so;

exulting without fear,

or rather, even in our fear.

As always we will be beat up

some days, and

beyond exhaustion at some sunsets.

Just give us hope for the sunrise,

for the newness You will again create

in your eternal faithfulness,

that seeming one word

spoken always and everywhere,

the Name You whisper into the void

(for there is never need to shout)

to make it home,

the Name that means company and dwelling

and God-with-us

in this old and new

reasonable and heartbreaking

ever re-created

Day.

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(J. McGinty, 01.01.15)