Reality is coming up from behind

Peter Cullen, the rector of my field placement parish, gave a sermon today. I cannot do it justice, but he talked about when he was a teenager and his mother always suggested that he go to the school dances so that maybe he might meet a wonderful girl and live happily ever after. This led him to always think that some day, maybe, sometime in the future that would all happen. He still thinks that way – in the future, maybe, someday, sometime, he will find that something that is supposed to make his life complete. Of course, it was a situation experienced way back when as a kid that set his disposition towards always thinking that in the future… in the future what is supposed to be will be, rather than seeing that right now…
He talked of how this has carried over into his spiritual life. Sometime in the future is when he is supposed to experience all this stuff of God. He waits, looks for that thing to approach him from somewhere ahead of him and say, “He I am.” He realizes, now, that it is likely to come from behind.
This infects us all, I believe. But, just maybe, maybe right now that which is supposed to be has sneaked up on us from behind and tapped us on the shoulder and said, “I’m here.” We don’t expect such things from behind, but maybe when we always strain to look ahead to realize life we continually miss it, because it is coming up behind us.
It really got me thinking, especially as one who always expected things to “work out right” sometime in the future when God would heal, or fix, or make things the way they are supposed to be. Things have rarely worked out as I expected them to. My expectations are too low and too limited.
I have always been future oriented – I always expect things to be “right” in the future – faith is things hoped for, yet not seen, right? Maybe, just maybe, God has been tapping me on the shoulder from behind saying, “Here I am.” Maybe, just maybe, I have not been able to feel the tap or see the reality of God, of God’s truth, of God’s grace and mercy, of His fulfillment. Maybe the reality of life, real life, has been beside me all along. Maybe I need to simply stop always looking forward to expectations that should be realized right now, from behind. Isn’t that just like God, to do things in a way that is unexpected so that we can realize far more than we could ever hope for or conceive of in our very limited forward looking.
Just stop. Just stop. Keep still for but a moment, and maybe I will see and know. Maybe if I can just stand still I will realize what has been with me all along. Be still, and know that I am God. Tap, tap, tap. “I am here.” Wait just a moment, please. A still small voice that is too easy to miss when I am in such a rush – a blur, a flash… what?, did I hear something?
We live in a hyperactive world moving somewhere at full force. All engines go. Just do it. What if true life, reality, is to stop and allow the rush of this world to go on without me, to be a blur, unfocused, moving towards who knows what, and I just stand still. Ah, I can hear it. Can I hear it? Peace. Joy. Freedom. Finally, maybe finally, from behind, I am enabled to love the Lord my God with my whole heart and finally, unexpectedly because it isn’t approaching from ahead of me, I can love my neighbor as myself. Maybe, finally, I can experience that life hoped for but yet unrealized because I致e been wrongly looking forward. Be still. Stop. Turn my head. There it is.

Leave a Reply