Perpetual Quest

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I was born on this day July 4, 1959 some 59 years ago. Birthdays? From birth it seems we all face the same questions. Why are we here? Where are we going? What does it all mean?

Many of us have learned how to make a living, yet we have not all learned how to make a life. And, there  is a difference. The difference is spiritual.

Lewis H. Lapham once said, ”...we find ourselves set adrift at birth in an existential void, inheriting nothing except the obligation to construct a plausible self, to build a raft of identity. Who else is the American hero if not a wandering pilgrim who goes forth on a perpetual quest?”

That’s great, but when do we find who we are under God? That’s a spiritual challenge. But, the  "perpetual quest,” while the key to growth, does not bring with it comfort of answers in the darkness of night.

Walker Percy said, ”The search is what anyone would undertake if they were not sunk in the everydayness of their own life…to become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”

The spiritual search crops up in the most unusual of places. You see it, for example, in some of the lyrics of rock music. The U2 song “FORTY’ was taken almost verbatim from Psalm 40: 

                         “I waited patiently for the Lord;

                                 and he inclined unto me;

                               and heard my cry.

                               He brought me up also out of a horrible pit:

                            Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,

                                   and established my going.” (Psalm 40:1,2)


“Sting” uses these words in one of his songs:

                    “Everyone I know is lonely,

                and God’s so far away, and my heart belongs to no one,

                        So now sometimes I pray,

                        Please take this space between us ,

                  And fill it up some way.” Sting

Take some time today to push away from your professional life, light a sparkler, share in a picnic, and watch some fireworks! It is after all my birthday, and more significantly the birthday of our country.  What I hope you are able to celebrate today in some portion, is the truth that Christ has placed us on this “perpetual quest” together. The questions of life and the answers offered are best received within community. Thank you for being part of the communal experience I have journeyed with since birth. As  a country may we walk gently with one another, valuing each neighbor in America in love.

For further reflection see 2 Chronicles 6:40-42, 7:12-16.

Prayer concern: Our capacity to treat ourselves and each human being as a precious product of God’s creation on a shared “perpetual quest.”

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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