Purpose. It gets us out of bed in the morning. It grants us peaceful sleep in the night. It assures us day in and day out that our existence is not meaningless. What is a person’s purpose? Do we all have one in common or is each individual’s unique? And is our purpose consistent from the beginning to the end of our time on earth?
Purpose. A community of faith has one too. All human institutions do. What distinguishes a church’s purpose from other helping agencies, from other social organizations? Does a faith community’s purpose shift with the changing world?
Brennan Manning writes about “the second journey” in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel. Manning claims that “it is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.” In describing the second journey, he likens it to a wake-up call, a turning point often precipitated by crisis. He says, “The second journey begins when we know we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the morning program. We are aware that we only have a limited amount of time left to accomplish that which is really important – and that awareness illumines for us what really matters, what really counts. This conviction provides a new center.”
Purpose. What is the center around which we organize our lives? We might glance at our calendars, study our checkbooks or listen to our thoughts, fears, and prayers to understand. Are we beginning a second journey personally, as a church? Manning suggests that the second journey is accompanied by a second call, an invitation “to serious reflection on the nature and quality of our faith in the gospel of grace, our hope in the new and not yet, and our love for God and people.”
Purpose. We’ve got it! Do we live it?