When I ponder the big questions of life – why am I here? What purpose does my life have? Where am I going? I often find that the puzzle that I am trying to untangle centers on simple questions. In the journey of life that we share as a community, what is my role? Doubts and fears about whom and what I am creep in; I wonder if I even have a place. Is there a spot where I can contribute?
It is part of the human psyche to wonder about place in life. Whatever our response it is also natural to doubt the answer we find. With the pain that comes from the failure of others to support our needs our doubts about this being a real community grows. Few break the cycle that increasing pushes individuals to believe and then act as if they are the only person in the world that counts. Everyone is out by his or her self! Survival of the fittest is the only rule. Lip service to relationships and partnerships, only I can take care of my soul. I alone determine where I am going.
Like all untruths there is a sliver of truth embedded in our fears. You and I ultimately face the question that determines where we are going. I cannot answer your question. You cannot answer mine. Ultimately is comes down to community versus self, God versus me.
Even in heaven John saw “another Angel, carrying a gold censer, [who] came and stood at the Altar. He was given a great quantity of incense so that he could offer up the prayers of all the holy people of God on the Golden Altar before the Throne.” (Revelation 8.2)
Our role is simple. It comes in two parts. First we must decide on our “side”. The choices include compassion vs. judgment, God vs. “I”, and community vs. being alone. There is nothing in the middle, no striding the fence. Second, if we chose faith in community and God, we win when the community “wins”, that is our place.