A year ago we had to end our Lenten Suppers very abruptly, and we were not prepared with an alternative. In fact, nobody was. Luckily for most of us, we had the technology to adapt to our circumstances, and we did it (mostly) well. This year we had Zoom Lenten Soup Suppers, and I think those who attended got a lot out of them. To everyone who took that 40 minutes a week – thank you! To those who didn’t – you missed a great series, but I hope you had other opportunities to go deeper this Lent.
We focused on Spiritual Journeys. I led the first gathering, and I talked about how you put a presentation like this together. I shared some of the most important influences in my growth in the faith, and I tried to give an outline as a possible example of how to tell your story. Then, for four weeks, we hear four very different stories, and all of them were funny, moving, and very deep. After we logged off last night, I thought, “Here we are – all of us in the same spiritual community, and all of us with such different experiences.” We are, all of us, the sum of our life experiences, and that makes us so unique – but we are also one in the Spirit as the Body of Christ.
In what is sometimes called “The Apology of Socrates”, Plato wrote that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I would take that idea to the next step: once we have examined our lives, we should share our stories with others. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I should live, and I usually get it right. When I don’t, I try to understand where I went wrong. I think that people who do not try to understand and atone for past mistakes end up making those mistakes over and over again. It is a truth that eludes many: we can only move forward or back – we can’t stay still.
You might disagree. You might think that you have it all figured out, and if you do, you should write a book about it so the rest of us can figure it out too. The wisest people I have known have messed up. The strongest marriages have ups and downs. The best friendships have spats. We are as individual as our fingerprints and DNA. We are prone to good and bad. We are human beings who can only improve with age if we evolve. We will agree and disagree with each other, and that is how life is. And while Plato may have overstated the situation, there is something to his assertion. If we never reconsider or evaluate or hope for something better, we take the chance that the rest of the world will move past us. I say it often, but I will say it again: if we look back at how we were 10 years ago and see the same people we are now, we have probably missed some amazing opportunities. Taking one step forward and two steps back can be frustrating, but at least we tried to move forward. Those who don’t try are missing out on how I think God has intended for us to live. Life is an adventure, not a saferoom.
I encourage each one of you to look back and consider how you came to be who you are today. Then look forward and see where you might be in a year or two or five. We all need goals. What is your next step?
Prayer – We thank You, God, for making us flawed. It is only by knowing this that we can move forward and become better people. That is a great gift. Amen.
Today’s art is “Metamorphical” by Cristina McAllister