Monday, September 22, 2014

Reflection for the Week–September 22

As the famous French philosopher Albert Camus once commented: ‘the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.’ Taking Camus seriously, there seems little doubt that we are fragile agents in time and story, groping for a picture of our lives that makes sense. Our plots may include shifting dimensions of hurt, suffering, despair, and healing, joy, and well being, but these very spheres of our narratives leave us in a world that’s way too small. Faced with continually discovering that we are not able to emplot a self-determined existence, we stumble along and are forced to ask Camus’ burning question again and again. The truth is there is far more to the meaning of life than our present circumstances may be able to recount. Surely, in some areas this truth is widely accepted, but just as surely in others it is not. There are many instances where we readily acknowledge there is more, while in some situations we still tenaciously grasp at the illusive power of being the ultimate authority. Thus, we all too often continue to demand to tell the key parts of the story our own way, but in attempting to do so, this simply leaves us short of meaning that is sufficiently able to address and cohere with a world that is not of our own making. Following on from this, we begin to recognize the need for a bigger story – the biblical mega narrative – which appears on the horizon, not as a totalizing account, but as a meaning-full telling with the force of explanation and new understanding that, while limited, takes us to the limit.