BY DREW O’KANE
For most Christians, there seems to be a very common theme of working through personal spiritual difficulties that come with being fallen. Most Christians agree that we are all working out our salvation here on earth, along with bringing His kingdom to fulfillment, and other divine mandates. All those things then are part of the journey on which we embark when we give our lives to Christ. Quite an epic story, don’t you think?
But as always, this isn’t quite all the story. We also have other things that happen in our lives. Moments when God shines His grace on us. The moment when we accept Christ. Punctuations to our otherwise monotone lives of journeying.
And it is at this point that I would like to interject my personal thoughts. How do I reconcile the two ends on God’s purposes? Why do we have both the Journey and the Moment?
The grandeur of the Journey very much appeals to me. Knowing that my Heavenly Father holds all my life in His hands, to mold and shape into something beautiful, makes a rather strong impression. It gives, as it implies, a purpose, and a much larger plan than life seems to let on. It is as if the discrete moments have been erased from our life, and we look at it from miles above, seeing the interweaving of our happy, tragic, wonderful lives. The smearing out of our moments, much as Schrödinger would want it.
But then again, I am also very much wanting to have the Moment.
I want my life to be suddenly brought to a glorifying moment of perfection. I want problems solved, sickness healed, sins expunged, lives saved. The discrete moments of blinding suddenness; the momentary flashes of grace that are given to us; the soothing warmth of salvation lavished upon us in an instant. These are the Moments of divine intervention, and they are not that hard to miss.
But this war between the Moment and the Journey doesn’t end with my rather narcissistic observations. The entire problem of evil and suffering in the world seems to be found in this war. In the Moment, we find very much that is wrong. Poverty, rape, war, famine, and much death. Many people who suffer are suffering this moment. Our Moments spread across the globe and encompass immense amounts of tragedy. And even with all this tragedy our Moment gathers in many wonderful things as well. The birth of a child, the commitment of friends to each other, the giving of clothes and food to the poor and hungry. All these events are captured, both good and bad, within the Moment.
Which is precisely where our conflict shows itself.
Within the Moment, we have all of humanity both damming itself and carrying on towards Gomorrah, and yet at the same time saving itself from certain destruction. I must admit that, at this point, I cannot possibly understand how this makes any sense. From the overall perspective, we have a zero-sum game. One step forward, one step back. Where is the Kingdom of Heaven? Where is God working?
Perhaps we need the Journey to make sense of this. We cannot merely leave ourselves with the Moment, because in the Moment, we have all of humanity’s goodness and evil wrapped together, and not clearly pointing in any one direction. But then again, within the Journey, the Moment makes sense. Within the Journey are many Moments, and all these Moments gather together all of God’s work through and with humanity. And Moments become a Journey. Individual stories become the Church’s story. Human work becomes Divine work. The kingdom of man becomes the Kingdom of Heaven. Our lives are not merely lived in just the moment, or the journey. It is both. Christianity is both journey and moment.
God takes our Moments, and our days as the old hymn says, and lets them flow in a ceaseless Journey.