In God alone is my soul at rest.
God is the source of my hope.
In God I find shelter, my rock, and my safety.
Men are but a puff of wind,
Men who think themselves important are a delusion.
Put them on a scale,
They are gone in a puff of wind.
"Ain't that the God's honest truth," my old friend said toward the end of our conversation last week. We were sharing the joys and challenges of being new fathers. The phrase that he used was one that I had heard so many times before, but this time made me think more deeply about its meaning. Alongside this phrase is also the idea of "Gospel Truth." Reflections upon these sayings reveal a deeper meaning and desire that we, as God's children, have an innate desire to make meaning of the world in which we live. We look to God, the life of Jesus, and the wisdom of Scripture for that source of Truth, especially when we look out upon our world and see a profound lack of commitment to factual and moral human truths.
I feel that today the need for a solid foundation of Truth is needed more than ever. Richard Rohr, a modern contemplative theologian, shares his recent reflection that "we have abandoned any sense of Truth, objectivity, science or religion in civil conversation; we now recognize we are living with the catastrophic results of several centuries of what philosophers call nihilism or post-modernism (nothing means anything, there are no universal patterns)". As a philosophy student, I always shuddered at the realization that society has been moving away from a sense of Truth for quite some time. During this time of global pandemic, social upheaval, violence, and streams of claims and counterclaims, we have revealed that perhaps we have reached a dangerous point of cultural nihilism. The idea of Truth, today at times, seems but a mere drop in an ocean of uncertainty.
Yet we as a spiritual family hold onto the proclamation that Jesus made to His disciples: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31 NRSV) So how do we find that Truth while we occupy a world that does not even grasp the idea that actual Truth exists? In his reflection, Richard Rohr would urge us to find the voice of God and, therefore Truth, deep within the well of our souls. He states, "Somehow our occupation and vocation as believers in this sad time must be to first restore the Divine Center by holding it and fully occupying it ourselves." This means to make our relationship with God a primary aim in our lives, which can only happen if we allow ourselves to let go of the poison that the world tries to feed us through fear and hate. As Rohr continues:
"God cannot abide with us in a place of fear.
God cannot abide with us in a place of ill will or hatred.
God cannot abide with us inside a nonstop volley of claim and counterclaim.
God cannot abide with us in an endless flow of online punditry and analysis.
God cannot speak inside of so much angry noise and conscious deceit.
God cannot be born except in a womb of Love.
So offer God that womb."
Our goal, especially over the few months that will undoubtedly see an increase of division and strife, should be to spend more time with God than we do absorbing the world's untruths. We can do that by being aware of how much social media and news we are taking in and setting aside time each day to enter into the Word and settle into God's presence through prayer and meditation. Let us find rest, Truth, and comfort in God. As we do, may that Truth pour from us like fresh water into the dry wells of our culture, that it may be refreshed and renewed as a better reflection of God's Kingdom.
Rohr article link for your pleasure reading: https://email.cac.org/t/d-13BBF5B2B60C4C702540EF23F30FEDED
Rev. Tom Henderson Owens
Executive Pastors for Ministries Tom.Owens@LongsChapel.com