Part I of the Brendan Liturgy cont…
“…have I the courage to leave the familiar and journey into the unknown?…to journey beyond the way I have prayed…”
We live in relative ignorance of that which is familiar. Just because something is “familiar” doesn’t mean we understand it, or “know” it.
I cross 4 creeks on my walk to work. There is Allen Creek (for which our church is named) which cuts a big green gash right through the middle of town. Feeding into Allen Creek is Munson Creek – half the size of Allen Creek and running through the local golf course. Then, nearest my home are two creeks for which there are no names.
Both creeks feed into Munson Creek which feeds into Allen Creek, which empties into Ebey Slough, which discharges into Tulalip Bay, which is part of Puget Sound which connects to the Straight of Juan De Fuca which opens into the Pacific Ocean.
It’s all connected…and most of these waterways were named after a person who did something significant. These places have stories. You can Google Peter Puget, Issac Ebey and Juan De Fuca. But the waterways closest to me, the one I can hear rushing through it’s banks from my bedroom window after a big rain – has no name.
Familiar – but unknown.
Is it possible that much of the pilgrim’s journey is really about making the familiar known? What if a person did not NEED to cast out into the Pacific Ocean to “sail on the face of the deep”? What if to do so instead meant simply wading in the creek behind one’s home?
In his book “Where Mortals Dwell” author Craig Bartholomew explores the “theology of place”. It would seem that God is concerned with our “placement”. He makes a Garden, protects it from us when we abuse it, moves Abraham to a new PLACE to start his redemptive plan, sets boundaries, makes a PLACE to meet Moses, and will someday rule in a CITY! I could go on. But the point is: Place matters.
There are places that effect my everyday life – places that I walk through, that I touch, that touch me that are familiar, but are also largely unknown.
Perhaps to journey from the familiar to the unknown is about discovering what is right in from of me. Perhaps it takes just as much courage, just as much faith and poses just as much danger to examine my dark motives as it does to explore the dark waters of the Pacific. Perhaps all the wilderness I have traveled over the last 10 years (I estimate over 600 miles) has been little more than a metaphor.
Strange. That thought does not bother me.
I wonder what it would take to name the creek behind my house? I’ll get hold of the city and find out.