I have always struggled with delayed gratification. I have been an ‘I want it now’ kind of guy as long as I can remember. Even when it comes to work related projects I have a really hard time putting things off until tomorrow. Well there are some things I will definitely procrastinate over but generally I like to get things done now. If I have a sermon to write I am often writing it on Tuesday. When I was working in an aluminum extrusion plant as a member of the United Auto Workers (a very long time ago) co-workers would tell me to slow down. I like jobs like snow plowing where I can see the results now. I like the sense of accomplishment in looking back at project and seeing it complete.
Some time ago I read the book Pillars of The Earth, by Ken Follett, a historical novel set in twelfth century England that surrounds the building of a great Cathedral. What I found particularly fascinating about the book and its story line was the commitment of the people to a project that could not possibly be completed in their lifetime. Stonecutters and masons, quarrymen and architects, would spend their entire careers, their whole lives, dedicated to working on building one structure that they would never see complete. Sculptors would work years and years on one decorative piece sometimes, due to their short life spans, never even being able to complete it. Working for months, even years or decades, facing disease and famine in sanitary conditions we would never accept today and then never seeing the fruits of your labor, is impossible for me to consider.
But I must.
Yes I and all the rest of us must, even today, realize that we are still part of movements in history that are larger than the century we live in. in this fast food, instant movies, Twitter land, Facebook, “electronic device in every pocket” world that we live in there are still movements that are larger than today and we are, all of us, part of something grand.
What will you be part of?
As badly as I would like to see the world changed today into a world where each, with their differing views on faith, would respect and accept everyone else’s view on faith, and where we might, all of us, see and regard one another’s faith as the path they have chosen in the same way that we accept that some are called to be teachers and some are called to be gardeners or inn-keepers, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime. Yet I can see myself as cutting the stones to be laid upon the great structure that will one day be complete. This one facet of this one stone I cut this week will make a difference in the structure that one day will stand as the greatest building of faith understanding that ever was.
Today I see the foundations, even the early beginnings of walls coming to form that will, in generations to come, be the house in which a common acceptance of faith will lead to a world where people respect and accept one another, their faith, their journey, and their understanding of the sacred. I can see a world at peace. I can see people owning a common understanding that we live better when we live for all.
I hope you can share the vision.