knowing where to turn

In this world there are many voices, causes and diversions clamoring for our attention. No one need look any farther than the world-wide web. Inside and outside our doors there is no shortage of good (and not so good) things we can choose from.

Prior to deciding what we will do, we need to be grounded in something deeper and at the heart of our existence and purpose for living. If we’re only animals and life ultimately has no meaning or purpose, than we can just go willy- nilly and do as we please. But if we’re more than that, humans created in God’s image, then there is more to life than just what we might make out of it. According to Scripture humans are made in God’s image and called by God to be stewards of the earth. This plays out in all sorts of ways. On top of that we are called through Christ as a race that has lost our way, back to God. Jesus, through his birth (the Incarnation), life, death and resurrection gives us a new way in which to live. The way in Jesus which recovers our humanity in a process of renewal into the image of God through Christ.

We need to realize, accept and acknowledge our lostness and need for God. We then need, on the basis of what God has done for us through Christ, to commit our lives to God by faith. And afterwards we need to continue to do so. Because at times even Christians can lose their way. I need to be reminded of this from (short) time to time.

Like the disciples of old, when all but lost through Jesus’ “hard sayings”, and seeing many who had been followers leaving him, we need to say with Peter, “Lord, where else can we turn? We know you have the words of eternal life, even though we don’t understand it well.” (my paraphrase from John 6).

I need this daily, actually. And more than that, several times a day. In Christian tradition it has been called “centering.” We have to get centered on what is central: God in Christ by the Spirit. This takes time and effort on our part, indeed it must be of highest priority to us. Though I love good liturgy and silence (though I’m not as akin to it as I need to be), I do it mainly through prayer, reading Scripture and reciting key passages such as “the Jesus Creed.” And importantly through the weekly gathering of God’s people, our local church.

Our only hope is in the Lord. But it’s a living hope, a person to whom we turn who is there to help us. And he will if we entrust ourselves to him.

From there we can then decide what we should do. The Spirit may direct us in an unusual way. But by and large as I understand it, we should pursue something good which we have an inclination toward. Usually this will be in line with our gifting and calling from God. With ever the desire to have an open heart and ear to God for his direction.

How do you know where to turn, or how do you get “centered”?