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Minister's Corner - Summer 2024

The following Paragraph is from a letter from an anonymous parishioner who felt put upon by the troubles of the world.


SHE: “Oh write back.” “Tell me wonderful, esoteric mysteries that hardly anyone knows

about.” “Tell me there's a heaven.” “Tell me that after this long road there is peace and relief,

and a joy that it is all over now.” “Tell me the end is not just a dark, dank hole and they throw the dirt on you and then bury you.” “Tell me suffering is not just the random uncaringness of a sick God.” “Remind me how wonderful life before I took on all these responsibilities really was.” “Please say something kind.”

NOTE: I actually connected with this person over the phone amidst this period of time. I remember being very challenged at a Pastoral level. Here is my written response.

ME: “Offer a life beyond this one and make it a time of peace and rest.” Oh, well that is a task isn't it? Ok…I feel your yearning, and can at least say this. The arc of life on earth, if not the broader universe, has been towards consciousness. And, given the chances of humans being here is so slim as to make our very existence a real miracle.

So, given that… ask yourself; seriously ask yourself… for all the imperfection of this world, Death, suffering, knees that increasingly will creek, and gutters that eventually will leak, is it really more likely that all of the whims and joys we experience came about by a random process that had no agenda or purpose. I mean, is it really more likely that the joy of sunsets, kisses, and love and the empathy that lies dormant in our hearts, is really more likely to have no intention behind it? Ask yourself, putting aside all the holes in the dogma of all the traditional religions that exist. Do you really think that there is not some unknowable force that is rooting for consciousness and life is behind all that is? That is at least a fair question, to if not completely trust in, at least have some hope that perhaps a force that is not perfect or all powerful, but a force and an ally all the same promoting life.

We may not be able to speak about what such a divine consciousness is like.

I would probably argue that we can’t.

We may not be able to speak conclusively that such a force exists.

I would be even bolder in saying that clearly, we can’t.

However, neither can we with real confidence suggest that for all that had to go right for us to get here, that we can be sure that the reality we know came about randomly.

Given how clearly we understand how much we don’t understand, can we really be confident in all we suggest that isn’t true.

So, without sounding all “1-800 dreamy freaky” can we say with confidence that life is

evolving with no agenda or point.

I don’t think we can.

I believe we can neither conclusively confirm nor deny that there is inherent intention behind all we see.

The history is clear; every group of people who have ever walked the planet has come up with systems of thought, and hunches, and beliefs that speak to something more. And that tells me something. It unquestionably identifies what we are wishing for, but might all those shifting images of a reality beyond this one be speculation- based on a hint of something else we sense?

Add to that all the odd psychic phenomenon, all the people who believe they have been touched by God, Gods, or angels, and I encourage you to ask yourself a simple question:

Can we rational modern types really be sure that all of our suspicions and religious longings are clearly just the combination of the way our big-brained imaginations meet wishful thinking? It could be. Maybe, all our deepest hopes wishes and visions are the unique products of our brains, but….that answer is speculative too.

I can't tell you what is true. That’s for the preachers on TV, but I can tell you that in a

universe it is believed our senses are capable of directly experiencing so little of … a universe that we hear contains more dimensions of reality than we have fingers, I don’t believe we can be that we cannot be sure of what isn’t.

I guess I have faith in what might exist beyond my/our capacity to understand it. That’s the

best I got. I have faith that what can’t be understood, has some good news in it.

And then I added…

I know that is not a lot, and I know that won’t take away your pain, but I invite you to be curious and even a bit comfortable by all that can’t be seen. I am. At least some.


PS. Seven centuries ago in what is modern day Iran a Persian Poet named Hafiz, fully aware of all the suffering life has in it penned the following words. It is a poem that in translation gets titled “Tripping Over Joy.” In the poem Hafiz is asked and answers...


.......What is the difference between your experience of existence and that of a Saint?

.......The Saint knows ……..That the spiritual path is a sublime chess game with God

.......And that our Beloved God has just made such a fantastic move

.......That the saint is now continually tripping over Joy and bursting out in Laughter

.......And saying, “I surrender!”

.......Whereas, my dear (and you can almost Hafiz shaking his head with a mischievous .......grin) I am afraid you still think you have a thousand serious moves (left).


For good measure. What else should or could I have said? I’m interested in hearing your

response.


~ Rev. Steve

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