Saturday, September 12, 2009

Doing vs. Being (or Being...and then Doing?)

This tension between Doing and Being has been a long, hard-fought battle in the minds and hearts of all people. For me, it has come up recently, as I've had the chance to reflect on my life.

Doing is how most of us choose to live our lives. We are in a culture of doers. We are taught, both institutionally and through other forms of socialization, that we must "do" to succeed. Our performance is in direct correlation to what we achieve and what titles/status we hold. To not "do" is considered a negative thing.

What then is Being? Is it some holistic approach to living life that is in contrast - or even in opposition - to Doing? Is it some trendy idea being espoused on talk shows and self-help books?

Being, for me, is best understood by this simple verse in Scripture:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Being is acknowledging our brokenness. Being is our desire to be loved by the One who loves us first. Being is having the need to be healed of that brokenness by a Healer that is much greater than anything the world has to offer.

Being is communion.

For when we are in communion with our God, we find rest. This communion leads us to better understand our life and opens us to God's invitation to live it more completely and more fully. Communion is the motivation to "do", because with God, all things are possible.

Being - and the communion that comes with Being - gives purpose to our Doing.

Most Christians understand the word "communion" in the context of a liturgical celebration or worship service. And if we believe that this communion in these settings is a direct encounter with Our Lord's Presence, we are blessed by this moment.

Perhaps we can think of communion, however, much more broadly than just this singular moment that happens at Sunday Mass or church service or temple or holy gathering. Perhaps communion is an entire mountain upon which God's presence rests. And the desire in our human hearts for communion with our God could be an invitation from Him to climb the mountain, with our gaze fixed intently on the top where He gazes back at us with longing to offer us peace and mercy.

Some of us will go to the top, because our love for Christ is deep and moves us to make the necessary sacrifice to journey there. Some of us will be on different parts of the mountain, still being shined upon by a God who loves us unconditionally, and especially when we find it hard to love Him.

Now, he most certainly does not work only at the top.

Along the way, our Friend comes to us, walks with us, and sends us help to quench our thirst, gives us courage, makes us whole. However, He does this only if we invite Him into our journey and our hearts. If we don't, He still waits for us, patiently.

And regardless of what titles we have, all the good we've done, all the bad we've done, all our success and failures, all of our sin, His love for us at the top is the same as it is where ever we are on our way to the top.


Because maybe, just maybe, our desire for communion (Being) can lead us to say yes to Christ's invitation to come and have rest (Doing).

Hey, anyone know which way to the mountain of the Lord?