19 Sep Longing: A Deeper Thirst
O God, I want so to belong;
teach me to accept.
I want to be close;
teach me to reach out.
I want a place where I am welcome;
teach me to open my arms.
I want mercy;
teach me to forgive.
I want beauty;
teach me honesty.
I want peace;
show me the eye of the storm.
I want truth; show me the way to question
my unquestionable convictions.
I want joy;
show me the way of deeper commitment.
I want life;
show me how to die.
These words, written by Rev. Dr. Theodore W. Loder and published in his collection called Guerrillas of Grace, beautifully and succinctly capture the deepest longings of the human heart. I will be preaching about longing this Sunday. In biblical language longing is frequently described in terms of thirst.
We know what it is to be physically thirsty, of course. My air conditioning quit working several days ago, and I’ve suffered through the recent 90-degree days with only a couple of oscillating fans to cool my immediate space. It’s been essential to stay hydrated during these unexpectedly hot September days. Thirst has taken on a renewed, more urgent meaning.
However, it is often easier to assuage physical thirst than it is to satisfy our emotional and spiritual thirsts, at least for those of us in the western world. Clean drinking water is as readily available as the nearest faucet. But satisfying our deeper thirsts is not so easy, or clear-cut, or immediate. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re really needing or wanting. At other times, we can identify the longing, but we don’t have the resources to meet it. Waiting is frequently necessary in dealing with our most profound thirsts.
But as Dr. Loder’s words remind us, we are not powerless in our quest for purposeful lives and meaningful relationships. Rather than focusing on what we want, we can start by paying attention to what we can give. And as we give, we will discover that our longings are being met, albeit perhaps in ways we didn’t expect.
What do you long for? If you’re local, join us Sunday as we explore this very human theme. If you’re further afield, Sunday’s sermon will be posted on our website early next week.
Yours for the Kingdom,