“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Many Christian parents today send their young people off to college after struggling to raise them with a reverence for the God who raised Jesus from the dead only to find them coming back with a reverence for nothing but reason and the environment.
One is tempted to say we are in danger of “forgetting the Weaver for the wonder of his weaving”, as one of my relatives C.A. Wendell wrote in his book, ‘The Larger Vision’. I think he was on to something. The problem is with the assumptions, the big picture. Many of our young people emerge from these institutions with the wrong anthropology.
Humanity’s love affair with reason, science and the idea of progress can mask a kind of pessimism, it seems to me, a radically lowered ceiling of meaning that, in effect, has us all stuck in a very large petri dish, a self-imposed nihilism. It’s a bit like children playing in a sandbox full of toys, stubbornly believing that the sandbox and what it contains is all there is.
I would like to suggest that the Christian faith actually proclaims a far more hopeful view of humanity and the future. The very doctrine of sin, for example, which receives such bad press, is actually a profound reflection upon the value of every person. For it assumes that the human being is no cosmic accident but a creature created in a spiritual, moral and ethical relationship to God, the neighbor, the self and the creation. To call myself a sinner is to acknowledge that I have been created for more than environmentalism and the scientific method. It is to acknowledge that love and relationship, though misused and abused, are the words that give clear definition and solid purpose to my life.
On the Cross, the One who gives meaning to all things – and that means your life, too – has given expression to ‘the larger vision’, this love that refuses to leave us in the dead certainties of our nihilism and pessimism, where reason alone must paint with an ultimately drab, lifeless palette.
So, to you college students and young people I say, enjoy the gift of reason. Explore the world, the universe. Be good caretakers of the world in which live. At the same time, look ‘beyond the sandbox’ to the larger vision! Look to Jesus Christ, the Source of all wisdom and the fountainhead of love. He will add innumerable colors to the palette of living and in Him you will find that love through which “all things hold together.”
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”