“The hope that we are traveling towards a destiny, rather than a mere collapse, is linked with the faith that our origins were already purposeful.”
The Coming of God by Maria Boulding
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I have to thank my friend John Hamilton at St Elizabeth’s, Dahlonega for the quotation from Maria Goulding. At a recent clerics meeting of the Mountains Convocation, he read a passage from her article in Celebrating the Seasons: The Coming of God. This made a profound impression on me and I recommend the whole article as a great meditation. After much online exploration, I was able to get Celebrating the Seasons from the Canterbury Press in England – a worthwhile exercise for these times.
The whole question of purpose is one that I have addressed myself many times in relation to age, circumstance, decision making, or what befalls. It is not something I believe we dwell on from day to day being preoccupied with routine matters of work or family or planning. However, there come times when questions about where all this is leading, and why, do come up. This is especially true in times of adversity. As people of faith, we have some ready-made answers for this – God’s will, God’s plan for me, God’s gift of my uniqueness, God’s own purpose in and for my life – or just God knows.
In my counseling practice, I have frequently struggled with a person’s lack of purpose – sometimes amounting to despair on their part. Most of the time the problem is narrowed down to dissatisfaction in relationships – especially family and marital relationships – or job, or location. For church people it sometimes arises in disaffection with particular worship or congregational experience – “I’m not getting much out of this anymore” or “what is the point of this commitment?” or “ I just keep hearing the same old words and they don’t connect with me in a meaningful way” or “ liturgy lacks life.” Surely in the context of the Church, we should be discovering some good purpose for our lives.
In these dreary months, I have found a deeper sense of connection through reading the biographies of people who recount experiences of discovering deeper purpose for their lives. I have also tried to draw closer to the natural environment of creation – to the beauty, the vastness, the unselfconsciousness of it, and its constant quiet renewal of life. This has been rewarding as it allows me to step away from my own preoccupations and focus on a larger life than usual.
While I can’t say that I have discovered a specific purpose that I wasn’t aware of. I have discovered a sense of greater meaning about life itself and what it offers as part of the greater plan – dare one say the Divine plan. I have come to love the sense of connection that I have with God’s life in me and in the world around me – not only right now but through the years of my own and other people’s lives.
As we begin another calendar year my prayer for all of us is that we may be able to know – perhaps just glimpse – the great purpose of God in the creation and our part of it. The ultimate revealing of ‘goodness.
Blessings and Peace,