It’s today’s buzzword, isn’t it? Pathway…Journey…People speak quite frequently these days about being on the path…or, on the journey.
But, to where?
For some Christians, it is a journey to heaven.
Really? Is that the point of this life? Just to endure it to make it finally to heaven?
At one time, I would have agreed. Everything I was taught about Christianity was all about getting saved in this life so you’d avoid hell in the next. So, you might say, the pathway…the journey was through this life and to heaven in the next.
You will have to decide this for yourself. I only offer the following suggestion for your thoughtful consideration: What if the journey is really about something else entirely?
When Jesus said, for example, “I have come that you might have life and it more abundantly,” has it ever occurred to you that what he meant has nothing to do with tomorrow?
Some of you will dismiss this notion as absurd, fixed as you are on an conditioned mental construct that includes a heaven somewhere in the sky. You cling to that idea as a child does his hope Santa will remember his requests on Christmas day. You hope for heaven the way some hope a vacation will free them from the stresses, as well as the drudgery, of their daily life. Ever noticed, vacations seldom do. There’s a reason they don’t. It’s the same reason a child’s elation on Christmas Day…his thrill that Santa remembered…soon disappears and then…well…there’s always another Christmas in which to hope, around which a child wraps his dreams.
Perhaps you’ve never been challenged to reconsider the widely held but mistaken views of New Testament “hope.” Maybe you, too, have thought that Christian “hope” is a wish for something better…something out there…the longing for what you do not have now or do not know today will be fixed one day…then, you’ll know, in the sweet by and by, as we used to sing in the little white church on the hill…then we’ll have whatever it is we feel life has cheated or stolen from us now.
No, my friend, New Testament hope is not about “wishing” at all. It is, instead, a quiet satisfaction…an inner calm…an unwavering confidence that frees you from all such wishing. Hope is knowing what others do not; it is having today what everyone seeks tomorrow.
And, what is it that everyone seeks? A future that they imagine is better than now. A blissful, trouble-free tomorrow that replaces the boredom and drama of today.
What these people have yet to learn, and I am only beginning to learn, is this: the future…whatever it is…only ever comes to you, to me, as today…
If you cannot know today or have today what you imagine tomorrow bringing, when tomorrow comes as today, will it not just bring with it more of today’s longing…more today’s unfulfilled wishing?
My friends, the mystery of life is the awakened, enlightened, salvific realization that the path you follow…the journey you’re taking…leads absolutely nowhere…
And, yet, everywhere at the same time.
That’s the paradox.
You say, “That’s confusing?”
But perhaps that’s because you and I are still looking for what we do not have…still seeking for what we do not know.
When the seeking, the wanting, the wishing, the hoping…when the looking finally ends…then, and only then, will we discover the wonder, the mystery, the bliss of abundant living – life as Jesus knew it…described it…life as the Buddha and a myriad of others have lived it…
They have learned life’s greatest secret…
The path is NOT about going anywhere.
The journey is instead…