In the daily office this past week, as we work through the book of Judges in the Hebrew scriptures and life around here seems to be in a sustained and grace-filled upheaval, I find myself meditating on how I find my confidence in Christ. Some of that confidence comes from experience. As the psalmist, the apostle Paul and a host of people of faith I have encountered both in person and in scripture attest, in Christ we have a confident and true hope and faith that having seen us this far, we will continue to be supported and guided to our rest at the end of days by the one who creates, redeems and sustains us in this life.
Sure, I can say that, but what does it mean to express it in thought and deed as well as word? First and foremost, it means that I actually make a conscious choice to remain open to Christ being the governor and guide of my life. Sometimes I am really good at that practice and can maintain that discipline of being one who follows the way my savior makes manifest. Often, though, that confidence in Christ twist just a bit out of place and out of shape-like a garment that just doesn't fit right when misaligned...or a car whose tires are out of whack-and instead of holding a true course I start to drift. I think I am pointing straight ahead, but the reality is that I am drifting all over the road that God has placed before me. Not good.
So, part of that realignment comes from being willing to cease trying to use my own muscle, will and perspective to force myself onto the "right" path. If your car is out of alignment, you take it to the shop for correction of the frame's twisted distortions. If your soul is out of alignment, you take it to the Body of Christ and seek counsel and correction of the inner life-same concept in different modalities.
I have seen that theme working itself out this summer in the Sunday readings. For the past couple of weeks, we have been dipping into the Epistle to the Colossians and the apostle's command to align practice with the faith confirmed through him in Christ, while the great prophets holler out to us about the coming Day of the Lord, when God shows up and the great tallying of our reality begins in earnest.
In our home life of late, I have seen that realignment asserting itself in some subtle, and unmistakable, ways. Friends we have not seen enough of in the past years, and whose counsel and teaching we ALWAYS benefit from have suddenly become available to us, even as great choices and changes loom for us and for my parish here in Matawan...God is providing the tools and support we need to get our alignment back into true, "factory-fresh" mode. That is happening over casual meals, celebratory feast and quiet phone conversations. It is occurring through prayer for those in need and as folks pray for us.
The blessing of this time is not that everything is certain. In so many ways, things feel un-certain, due mostly in part to the great variety that our directions in life may take in the coming weeks and months. What brings confidence is the daily, even hourly reminder that we are in this journey to serve Christ...and that as the next chapters unfold our primary focus needs to be on Him...and we need ALL the support and love that can be mustered to discern what is being asked.
Thing is, I realize that need for confidence in, and alignment with, God's will for us is not a sporadic thing-materializing if and when great change looms. What I am seeing now is that need is the true constant, and if I am honest and true I need to focus with integrity and intensity on maintaining that alignment (with regular trips to the correction shop of the counsel of friends, mentors, teachers, etc.) on a day-to-day basis. Right now, during change, is when I am more aware of it...but when the change dials back at some point in the future, I pray that God will continue to exhort me to deep balance, confidence and alignment with the Divine Will for whatever life and ministry hold for us in the future....