I had a most thought provoking experience last Thursday afternoon. At the request of a Diocesan contact, I was interviewed by three Fordham University students as part of their assignment in a Theology course. They had a series of questions they were posing to clergy from various Christian and (as I found out later) non-Christian traditions. (I have never been anyone’s homework assignment before!)
Now from what I discerned from casual pre- and post- interview conversations, one of them is Roman Catholic, at least culturally, one is Jewish and one is a “none” as in “no religious affiliation.” But all three of them happen to be taking this Introduction to Theology Course from such differing personal perspectives.
Now there were the expected questions for which I had been prepared: comparison of the Anglican vs. Roman Catholic and or Protestant traditions (they never remember there is another “half” of Christianity in the East); the theodicy issue (“justify” a loving God in light of human suffering and evil – so judgmental when in college; where are we on the creation vs. evolution debate.
Then the surprise: I was asked when I was 20 (their age, I presume) where did I “see myself” in 50 years as opposed to where I am today. I was not only surprised by the question, but when we talked about it, one of them confessed that he often has asked this of his parents, and is shocked to have his question dismissed. They never even asked this question that he seems (by his admission) so seriously concerned about – not obsessed but close!
Now I am wondering if this new generation of young adults who are going to replace us are all so far reaching in their concerns. Of course the world of the early 1970’s would be so utterly foreign to this group. Heck, my parents only just bought their first color TV in 1972. How can anyone know what the next 40 or 50 years will bring: Internet and smart phones on the one hand, but 9/11 and world-wide terrorism on the other.
And yet, I find it hopeful that they are thinking in that direction. It should remind the rest of us that we need to live for more than just the “here and now.” Jesus’ retort to Pilate at his “trial” that His kingdom is “not of this world” should remind us all that we’re only passing through this earth for a few short years. When I graduated high school some 50 years ago, I had no idea where I would be or what I would be doing in 2017. Our purpose is to pass through this time and place and space we call our life, live out our commitment to Christ as best we can, touch other lives and bring others to that peace “that passes all understanding” as is our mandate.
The veil between now and your future is pierced only by God’s vision. You need only be willing to be that disciple, be that Christian who will “love one another as (He) has loved you.” And if you do, years from now, you will be where God has intended you to be.