Hear the Footsteps

Hear the Footsteps

I write as “Q” because I continually question. I address the same questions to God, to myself and to my fellow travelers on the Way. I write as “Q” because I consistently experience my life as an ongoing quest. My quest is to live an un-fragmented life characterized by grace-filled congruence between what I think, what I speak and what I do. There is an intersection of these two themes, and at the core they are complementary if not essentially equivalent. 

One of the ongoing questions of my heart is “Do I truly live as I say I believe? Does my life communicate no dissonance with my conversation? Is there consistency between the words I speak – the visions I articulate and the compassions of my heart?” If I honestly answer my own questions, I will have to say that the all too frequent answer is “no.” In my life, it is both God and others who show this to me. I am very quick to recognize this in the lives of my fellow followers of Jesus but slower to see in my own life. 

This is the quest and the struggle – to live in that place of harmony between the life of the inner person and how we actualize our callings, beliefs, commitments and compassions. The Franciscan writer, Richard Rohr says it this way, “. . . we can be made whole; . . . the world can be made whole. . . . Personal transformation and social transformation are one piece. . . .The true spiritual quest is not that I become whole. Informed by the belief that the world is birthed by God and is precious and sacred and one, the true spiritual quest is that the world become whole—and we along with it.” [1]

One of my life verses is the simple statement found in Proverbs 24:16 – “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again . . .” Life consists in the falling and the rising up again to continue in acts of mercy empowered by grace. I’ve come to realize that life itself is a gift of grace. As the giver of this gift poured out his life for the world, so too those of us who follow Him are meant to unceasingly pour out our lives for the sake of others. We are those who recognize that all we’ve been given is not of our own making and is not the sole province of our narrow ego-selves. I aspire, and often fail, to live a grace-filled life in my thoughts, words and actions.

In my observations and interactions with my fellow believers I am often disheartened by the incongruity I see between word and action. I hear so many passionate words about the desirability of unity and love within the community of faith, between Jewish believers and Palestinian Christians, and I see so little actual evidence that this is an important priority. There is no question that we live in an age of almost unfathomable diversity and distraction. The variety of choices and demands on our lives can seem overwhelming. Often our hearts lead and we say yes to the challenge of unity because we deeply recognize that this is God’s heart and will for us. We think it, we say it, but are we only giving lip-service to an ideal or a “spiritual truth?”  Our faith commitment is not only about beliefs and words, it is far more about what we do and how we do it than getting the ideas and words “right.” My people, Israel at Sinai, responded to God’s gift of torah by saying “. . . we will do it and we will obey.” (Exodus 24:7) Our subsequent history is characterized by the same patterns I’m drawing our attention to here. 

Over the past months, I’m increasingly listening not to the words, but to where I hear the footsteps, including my own. The adage “we vote with our feet,” is not just a hackneyed phrase; it points to an essential truth. I wonder if we’ve forgotten what it means to genuinely live what we so easily speak about. 


[1] https://cac.org/author/richardrohr/ accessed: July 6, 2017

 
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