Tuesday, April 21, 2009

broad ocean of worldy business...

Cyrus Bartol's question this morning is only just the meaning and object of life. The vision thing. Vision is, to me, deeply important and deeply dangerous. Vision held too rigidly leads to intolerance and worse. Vision never attained is painful. Tom Petty asks a friend who is fading, "Was it something you could picture and never could quite touch." And yet a life without vision seems, well...visionless. This from Cyrus Bartol's Sermon, "The Object of Life"

"So my intention in this discourse will be answered, if I can prevail on you so much as to define such an object to your own thoughts...Decide at all upon living for an object, choose something to which you soberly consent to devote your existence, and you can hardly decide wrong...but will be constrained...to determine on the right, to choose religion, obedience to God, and confidence in the final demonstration of his justice...To express this, cherish it, and use earthly time and opportunity to build it up as the vital principle of our being's health and growth, is indeed for man, woman and child-or even the child can understand it-the object of life.

The principle may be put into various forms of statement. You may recur to the old preacher's language, or you may say with the modern catechism, the the 'chief end of man is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever.' You may speak in the phrase rightly understood, of the philosophy of our time, 'Self-Culture:' or in the phrase, profoundly interpreted of the philanthropy of our time, 'Reform.' All these mean essentially the same thing...

The adoption of so grand an object of life, taking in our whole career, does not abolish the minor callings and aims of activity, of study, or traffic, or mechanical skill, in this world. It but leavens them with a higher spirit, and turns them to a nobler influence...It does not shut us up in a narrow place of hermit stiffness and seclusion, but goes with us over the broad ocean of worldly business, only asking that it may stand a divine pilot at the helm."

What is your vision? Blessings

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