These are words from the Collect for this Sunday. To think about what is eternal always sparks a longing in our hearts, I think, because it reminds us simultaneously of our mortality and of the sense that we belong outside time in a story of love and creativity that is much bigger than ourselves. Poet and philosopher John O’Donohue says that “the hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature.” Indeed, the eternity lodged in the heart of all of us is a recognition of that belonging to love itself, and to our place in the relationship of all things. To say “I belong”, is a statement of faith every bit as much as it is an expression of longing. There is longing because belonging is paradoxical. We can only belong when we are being utterly ourselves, and we can only be ourselves when we recognise our intimate kinship with everyone and everything else. Without longing, there is no creativity, and without belonging, we can lose the vision of what is eternal in all of our natures.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to break into these perplexing contradictions, comforting us in our longing and gently opening our hearts until we find our own unique place of belonging, joining with others to tell the eternal story of mercy and of love.
Grace and peace,