Today I am pondering this place that God has led me to. I sit here, five feet from a fountain, protected from Barton Springs rd. By a low rock wall, protected from the intense Austin sun by a Heineken canopy, watching the cars travel by through the greenest city, save Seattle, I have ever seen. Within twenty feet of me are people from four different continents, various accents and modes of dress, various faces and religions. There is a cactus growing in the sidewalk garden just beyond the wall and ancient oaks across the road. Into this idyllic setting we come, deigning to tell these self-assured and generally happy people that we have answers for them. On some level it is the height of arrogance. On another, we hope, the height of obedience. We think we have an angle on theology that will appeal to these folks, truth is the only thing we can hope to know is Jesus. If we can represent Him correctly, then we have a chance to make a difference. Otherwise we are just more sound and fury signifying nothing.
I think one key for our community is a life key as well. I’ve been thinking about the French explorer La Salle and how he sailed down the Mississippi River and founded New Orleans. He left America for France and upon his return couldn’t find where he had left the mouth of the Big River. Instead, he sailed into the Colorado river swamps in south Texas, set up camp on what was actually Garcitas creek, and tried to make where he was, the place he wanted to be. It didn’t work, it never does. La Salle’s men began to succumb to the harsh Texas climate and then mutinied, murdering their leader. All that remains is a little town called La Salle, close to where I attended high school, but basically, in the middle of nowhere, signifying very little.
If our own search for truth can be compared to a river journey, and I believe it can, we are actually searching for the headwaters of truth. The journey takes us farther and farther upriver, and we face increasing difficult obstacles and increasingly appealing places to camp. If we are wise, we will continue to seek further upriver for the source of that which we seek, ultimately, we believe, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most of us get tired of the journey, grow weary of the walk, so we settle and call our new camp, “this is where we were going all along.” And then the trouble starts.
I think that in every person there is a voice and a question that drives us towards truth, if we listen and make the hard choices we find answers, if we don’t, we lose our initiative, our drive, our dreams and signify nothing. The hard choice is to always press upriver, always ask the hard questions, never be satisfied that you are the authority on anything. I believe that in this seeking we find God and all good things.