Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Circumference and Center

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat? What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you as well."
Matthew 6:31-33



The outer edges.

The margins.

The fringe.

How many times do we confuse the circumference with the center?

How many times do we run after the things on the margins and neglect the center?

What shall I eat? Where shall I eat?

What shall I wear? Who shall I wear?

How can I look younger? How can I feel younger?

What can I acquire? Who can I acquire?

How can I look successful?


Many folks are consumed with it - consumed by it.

Image is the circumference. Image is the periphery. Image is the margin.

The circumference is not the center. And, when we confuse the two our life tends to get complicated and messy and out of focus.

Among the many awesome things that Jesus did for us was to point us to the center and encourage us to go there rather than to the margins.

The center.

The place where we find our focus, our meaning, our strength, our equilibrium, our peace, and the source of love, faith, grace and hope. The place where we find the Spirit dwelling within us. The place where we meet God in prayer. The place where we can listen and be heard.

The place where the sacred in our life mixes with the secular in our life.

And, for some, that makes the center a scary place.

The center is also where our fears reside, and we come face to face with our limitations, and our poor choices, and our bigotry and bitterness and jealousies.

But, in the center the secular can be made sacred, and the profane made profound, sins forgiven and bitterness forgotten. In the center we deal with who we are and we are also reminded Whose we are.

I am writing this at the beginning of the observance of Lent - a time when Christians make an intentional effort to cease pursuing the things of the circumference and examine the center. We do the work of self-examination and confession in order to make the center more of a place that we will more often choose to live from rather than the margins.

Jesus said that unbelievers run after the things of the circumference. I must confess that I am guilty of often running after the things that sit on the margins rather than running to and living from my center. I am pretty sure I am not the only one.

Does that mean Jesus is wrong?

Or, do my actions make a stark and unpleasant statement about my faith?