Excerpts – Sacred Journey

We are far too anxious to be definite and to have finished well-polished, sharp-edged systems—forgetting that the more perfect a theory about the infinite, the surer it is to be wrong, the more impossible it is to be right. I am neither Arminian nor Calvinist. To no system would I subscribe.

We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away.

Caliban’s dream – “The clouds methought would open and shew riches ready to drop upon me, that when i wak’d I cried to dream again.” -Shakes (Tempest)

faith is like the dream in which the clouds open to show such riches ready to drop upon us that when we wake into the reality of nothing more than common sense, we cry to dream again because the dreaming seems truer than the waking does to the fullness of reality not as we have seen it, to be sure, but as by faith we trust it to be without seeing. faith is both the dreaming and the crying. faith is the assurance that the best and holiest dream is true after all.

we search for a self to be. we search for other selves to love. we search for work to do. and since even when to one degree or another we find these things, we find also that there is still something crucial missing which we have not found, we search for that unfound thing too, even tough we do not know its name or where it is to be found or even if it is to be found at all.

what i had not found, i could not name and, for the most part, knew of only through my sense of its precious and puzzling and haunting absence. and maybe we can never name it by its final, true, and holy name, and maybe it is largely through its absence that, this side of Paradise, we will ever know it.

to lose track of the deep needs beyond our own needs and those of our closest friends; to lose track of the deep mystery beyond or at the heart of the mystery of our separate selves- is to lose track also of what our journey is a journey toward and of the sacredness and high adventure of our journey. nor, if have our eyes, ears, hearts open at all, does life allow us to lose track of the depths for long.

i choose to believe that, from beyond time, a saving mystery breaks into our time at odd and unforeseeable moments.

something in me recoils from using such language, but here at the end i am left with no other way of saying it than that what i found finally was Christ. Or was found. It hardly seems to matter which. There are other ways to describe what happened to me – psychological words, historical words, poetic words – but in honesty as well as in faith I am reduced to the word that is his name because no other seems to account for the experience so fully.

And the way we go is full of perils, both from without and from within, and who can say for sure what we will find at the end of our journeys, or if, when that time comes, it will prove to be anything more than such a beautiful dream as Caliban dreamed.

Here at last I find myself thinking of King Rinkitink again – another king strong in his weakness and stout of heart in the face of despair – and of those three pearls that he carried with him. The blue one that conferred such strength that no one could resist it. The pink one that protected its owner from all dangers. And the pure white one that spoke wisdom.
Faith. Hope. Love. Those are their names of course, those three – as words so worn out, but as realities so rich. Our going away presents from beyond time to carry with us through time to lighten our step as we go. And part at least of the wisdom of the third one is, as Rinkitink heard it, “Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.” Above all, never question the truth beyond all understanding and surpassing all other wonders that in the long run nothing, not even the world, not even ourselves, can separate us forever from that last and deepest love that glimmers in our dusk like a pearl, like a face.

-Frederick Beuchner


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