“Spiraling out of control,” is a phrase that can easily describe the current display of human existence. In addition to the violence, unrest, uneasiness and turmoil that are common elements of our daily news, other essential pieces are misplaced or missing. Many lack an objective center around which to order and structure their lives or a clear set of definable goals or mores to act as guideposts and life directives. It appears that “feelings” have become a “new god” and traditional structures and ideals set aside. It is almost as if history only shows that we got this whole thing wrong and many are determined to finally set things right. The real truth, however, is that while wrongs and errors are certainly a part of our often-checkered past, it is hardly the case that all was wrong. It is not our task to rewrite the history of our lives, but to learn from mistakes that were made, and preserve the perennial wisdom at the root of our successes. Learning is an essential part of being human.
The question becomes, however, from whom do we learn? Some have such a hard time placing God in that position, but that is precisely where God needs to be. God is the Master Teacher from whom all of humanity learns and gets its cues. It is in and through this relationship with the Gardener of Life that we are fashioned and pruned into the people we are intended to be and can be. It is only in God that we are able to find our best selves. Sadly, many think that religion too, as well as history in general, has also gotten all this wrong. Yet, our resurrection faith tells us differently. We are reminded, today especially, that we are meant to remain in Christ as Christ remains in us. We are also reminded that Jesus, the Incarnate God, is the vine upon which we grow, the branches that flow from the source of God’s life.
Giving up our will to God’s can be a painful endeavor. It is not easy to set our own desires and wants aside and allow God to step in and direct and guide our growth. But this is the only way to prevent deadly weeds from overtaking us and bringing us to a place of self-destruction. God’s commandments are the very guideposts and benchmarks we need, yet many seek to remove them from all public view because they appear to limit self-expression and suppress what is considered by many to be “human freedom.” They are the only way we can find freedom, however. And, until we learn this fundamental lesson, we will continue to spiral out of control, never really knowing who we are, what our potential can be or how life really can be lived. We will not know peace.