Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Striving for Perfection?

In my United Methodist Studies class last weekend, we discussed this favorite phrase of Methodists "are you striving for perfection" and the scary ordination question "Do you expect to be perfected in love in this life" (to which the person respond "yes")

But what is perfection? I have long thought it was a state of being capable of doing all things, of behaving with perfect compassion, reason, and capability to achieve goodness and light in the world. I thought only God was perfect, and that our call to be perfect was a calling to achieve more than is humanly possible - by that empowering love of Jesus Christ, of course!

But recently, I have begun to doubt that I really understood what we mean by perfection. You see, I have never met a perfect person, and I known many people who have given their entire lives for Christ, or for Good. No one is super-man (or woman) - so perhaps this isn't what God meant (although I think poor John Wesley was enough of a perfectionist to actually mean superhuman abilities).

SO what is perfected in love? I think it means a journey. The kind of journey where a community of tomato-farmers look around and say "we deserve a living wage for our work" and where middle-class Americans stop eating at Taco Bell to stand in solidarity with the farmers. The kind of journey where people in community can be honest about their faults and failings, because no one expects them to be a cleanly packaged, always healthy movie star. In fact, I think that like the Pilgrims who once inspired Canterbury tales, we should recognize the faithfulness of being on the road.

And as pilgrims we are supported in special ways; by our fellow pilgrims who journey with us for the entire road. By those who might join us for a few days, or months, but eventually depart for other lands. And rather than focusing on Canterbury, or the place we are headed, we can rest in the knowledge that God who is in all things, is already with us! God who loves us infinitely has not deserted us, but give us the sun to light our path, trees to rest under, streams of cool water, and those tiny wildflowers which grow along the road.

Join us on this journey - for we are already living in the love of God! and there is joy to be found as we stand in solidarity seeking liberation and hope for ALL people. There are plenty of wildflowers for all!


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