Destiny is Calling
We should look then for the transcendent Spirit in all things. It may be there, shining in the eyes of your beloved, growing in the bonds of this community, standing side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder with you, struggling against oppressions—in all its many mutating forms, urging transformation, liberating the oppressed, and binding-up the broken, that we may find our salvation. To navigate in this world, we must place our ever-deepening faith in this sacred transcendence that saves us—the love we sense in the presence of our heart-friends, in our families, in the depths of own mysterious beings, and in our ideals and visions of a better world.
It is there that real freedom lies. It is there that the mind will be unleashed. It is there that we are freed from the potential bondage of the past and are able to continue our voyage, sailing nearer and nearer to the shores of the Holy.
We must not walk the path of this world; we must know ourselves to be of a transcendent source that is being woven into this existence. We cannot afford to be led astray by the temptations of the world, the temptations of decadence, materialism and ego-glorification, because we likely have tread those trails and we know, all to well, that they are ultimately dead ends. We must look forward on this voyage, opening ourselves to the brilliant effulgences of the Light of Life, however it may come to us, and we must swiftly follow that call, in faith, and in hope, and with perfect trust.
In the Christian Gospels, Jesus describes the transcendent world that is to come as follows:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” The “pearl of great value” is the transcendent moments of life, “the radiant signatures of the infinite spirit.” We must sell everything we have to be guided by it—all of our limiting worldly assumptions and illusions, because it is what is beyond all of these. We must not allow them to become the permanent, unmovable rocks of our journey. The transcendent is the Spirit; God can be thought of as totality of everything that we sense truly matters in life, it is the substance from which the new world, the beloved community, must be built. It is from whence we came and it may just be our destiny.
Our great Universalist ancestors believed in destiny. They believed in a destiny ripe with all the riches of the human spirit. They had faith that everything that has been, is, or will be, are integral parts of God’s salvific plan for humanity. They had hope that regardless of how creative we are at constructing our own prisons of the human spirit, God—in God’s almost infinite possibilities and compassion—would always offer us freedom from our own self-imposed captivity.
Last year, I studied systematic theology at a Roman Catholic school and—as you might
imagine—I frequently engaged my beloved professor in some rather… charged debates. In one instance that stands out in my mind, we were debating the likelihood of universal salvation.
She felt that it was probable… and… I felt that it was certain. She insisted that humans have free will and, therefore, could eternally choose to turn away from God if they wished. I argued against the supposed reality of an isolated “free will” that is independent from the rest of existence, from its contexts and living webs of influence. I argued instead for a cocreative will that is relational, and, therefore, never entirely free. It is participatory, not insular, and, therefore, unable to even fully resist the freedom of possibilities gracefully offered by the divinity of existence.
At this point she lost all control and yelled, and I mean yelled, “What!? God is so wonderful and loving and adorable that in the end he will find a way and we wouldn’t even be capable of resisting him.” I hesitantly replied, “Exactly,” and she sat in contemplation. (Pause... )
Universal salvation, intelligent design and destiny are possibilities that we all fear because they require that we be dethroned, and that we admit that, maybe—just maybe—our intelligence isn’t the only intelligence at work in the world. They require that we admit that we are not the locus-of-control of all reality, or even of our own destiny. They demand that we place trust in that which is outside of ourselves, in the “other,” and in the good Spirit of life itself. We may steer the boat, but still the currents will move us.
The wisdom, intellect, creativity, and imagination, that each of us brings into the world is only a strand in a larger web of relationship, possibility and mystery. There is other transcendent wisdom in this world, lucidly incarnate in loved ones and those who we absolutely despise; in those who we have never met or even considered, and in all of history, that is not our own, and from which we can never remove our being.
Looking back as far as I can see, I bear witness to a linage that leads all the way to my presence here tonight. Looking forward, I place my faith only in those transcendent moments, which descend like raindrops from heaven, and reveal to me something of the eternal destination of all things.
Let us live, placing faith in the signatures of the infinite Spirit we sense in our own lives, and let us write our own immortal page in this great drama, with the pencil of fire.
May it be so.
Amen and Blessed Be.
Jeremy Elliott is a student at Starr King.