Led by God
In Jeremiah 2:6, 8 we are told what Israel did wrong. “They did not say…” The recital of Yahweh’s story was no longer on their lips. They disregarded their shaping memory. Where the story of Yahweh is forgotten, Israel disregards its peculiar convenantal way in the world, and soon loses its reason for being. Verses 6-7 recite the credo that they “did not say,” that has been forgotten. That credo is dominated by the word “land”: land of Egypt, land of deserts and pits, land of drought and darkness, land that none passes through, plentiful land, defiled land, heritage. Israel’s whole life is about land. Yahweh’s primal gift is land. Jeremiah is concerned with the sure-coming destruction, exile, and land loss. This passage suggests that where the story of the land is lost, the loss of the land itself will soon follow. - Walter Brueggemann, To Pluck Up, To Tear Down
On this journey or adventure, they (heroes on a journey) in fact find their real problem! They are almost always “wounded” in some way and encounter a major dilemma, and the whole story largely pivots around the resolution of the trials that result. There is always a wounding: and the great epiphany is that the wounded becomes the secret key, even “sacred,” a wound that changes them dramatically, which, by the way, is the precise meaning of the wounds of Jesus! Their world is opened up, the screen becomes much larger, and they do too.
— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality of the Two Halves of Life
In my life, I have lost my way more times than I can count. I have set out to be married and ended up divorced. I have set out to be healthy and ended up sick. I have set out to live in New England and ended up in Georgia. When I was thirty, I set out to be a parish priest, planning to spend the rest of my life caring for souls in any congregation that would have me. Almost thirty years later, I teach school. The last time I tried to iron one of my old black cotton clergy shirts, the rotted fabric gave way beneath my fingers. While none of these displacements was pleasant at first, I would not give a single one of them back. I have found things while I was lost that I might never have discovered if I had stayed on the path...Take Abraham and Sarah, for instance, the first parents of the Hebrew people. The Bible gives no reason for God’s choice of Abraham and Sarah except their willingness to get lost. They were not young. They were not spiritual giants. All they really had going for them was their willingness to set off on a divinely inspired trip without a map, equipped with nothing but God’s promise to be with them.—Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World
But your loss brought you here to walk
under one name and one name only,
and to find the guise under which all loss can live;
remember, you were given that name every day
along the way, remember, you were greeted as such,
and you needed no other name, other people
seemed to know you even before you gave up
being a shadow on the road and came into the light,
even before you sat down with them,
broke bread and drank wine,
wiped the wind-tears from your eyes:
pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.
- David Whyte, from “Camino”
· When have you been lost yet found your way to where you should be? What stories do you tell about that experience?
· How have you experienced God’s leading and God’s bounty in this congregation? What stories do you tell about that?