Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, January 18, 2013

Taking Care of Business

Say first, of God above, or man below
What can we reason, but from what we know?
Of man, what see we but his station here,
From which to reason, or to which refer?
Through worlds unnumbered though the God be known,
’Tis ours to trace Him only in our own.
-- from Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] following them ….  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” – John 21:20-22

Not to say there is anything wrong with wondering or speculating.  If there is, I am certainly guilty.  As noted, though, on One Cosmos, reason is a tool that must have something on which to operate.  We reason from what we know.  Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we know quite a bit about this world we inhabit, a little about the sun and the moon, something of Mars, and really very little about any other world. 

We get the impression sometimes that we know a great deal more than someone living three or four hundred years ago – and we do.  It is just that, relative to the vastness of the cosmos, our knowledge base is almost unchanged.  As time goes on, as instruments are refined, as we are able to explore more effectively further and further out, we will find that much we thought we knew was wrong.  I come not to bury science but to praise it.  It is a feature.  At least we know all the rules of physics, right?  Again, we know a lot more than we did.  I would be surprised, if, somewhere down the line, there is not more to learn.  Someday we might come to a better understanding of what gravity really is and how it works.  We may find that space is not as difficult to traverse as we now envision.  Who knows?

We can wonder, but we are who we are and where we are now.  How should I live today?  Right now? 

You follow me!

This does not appear to be optional or open to discussion.  How the creatures on other worlds relate to God, we may never know in this life.  I don’t wonder why aliens haven’t shown up here.  If you were God would you let your other kids hang out with us? 

Jesus had just explained to Peter what direction he was going to go and how he was going to be asked to surrender his life for the sake of the kingdom.  One would think that would be enough to consider for at least a couple of minutes, but, like many of us, Peter could not help wanting to know more, so he asked about John.  What is that to you? 

We are to love, look out for, and support each other.  We are to be good witnesses to those whose path intersects our own.  We should point those who don’t know Christ in the right direction.  Meanwhile we also have to understand that our paths are ours.  The trajectory of a person’s life is between that person and God. 

Christianity is life.  The Strait Way is strait enough without excessive religious regimentation.  I have no problem with ritual or ceremony in worship, and I know that discipline is necessary for all of us.  Nevertheless, our call is not to follow the path of another, it is to follow Christ.      


Rick said...

What is that year or that man they say was the last man who could know everything that was known at that time? It's almost like a parable in disguise.

Interesting problem to have reached capacity. With our finite brains and finite life spans. Maybe it was always true and no less true now than it ever was that man knows all he knows and nothing more and that this is both a gift and a warning to make certain that it is not how much one knows that is important but rather what he knows.

mushroom said...

Maybe it was always true and no less true now than it ever was that man knows all he knows and nothing more ...

It's true that there is nothing new under the sun. A clay tablet is not the same as an iPad, but there is nothing new in the human holding it.