A Further Journey – Sept. 13, 2020

A journey into the second half of our own lives awaits us all. Not everybody goes there, even though all of us get older . . A “further journey” is a well-kept secret . . . Many people do not even know there is one. There are too few who are aware of it, tell us about it, or know that it is different from the journey of the first half of life . . .The first-half-of-life task is no more than finding the starting gate. It is merely the warm-up act, not the full journey. It is the raft but not the shore. If you realize that there is a further journey, you might do the warm-up act quite differently, which would better prepare you for what follows. People at any age must know about the whole arc of their life and where it is tending and leading. We know about this further journey from the clear and inviting voices of others who have been there, from the sacred and secular texts that invite us there, from our own observations of people who have entered this new territory, and also, sadly, from those who never seem to move on. The further journey usually appears like a seductive invitation and a kind of promise or hope. We are summoned to it, not commanded to go, perhaps because each of us has to go on this path freely, with all the messy and raw material of our own unique lives. But we don’t have to do it, nor do we have to do it alone. –Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

As Rohr points out in the companion workbook to Falling Upward the ideas in this book hold pastoral, practical, and therapeutic implications for an individual’s emotional and spiritual growth. But it may hold something even more important for the historical moment in which we find ourselves: As Rohr says, Falling Upward offers “an understanding of the endless conservative-liberal divide in most groups and how both are preserving essential values — though sometimes in the wrong sequence and for too long.” 

I have read Falling Upward three times now and see new wisdom in it each time. If our aim is not just spiritual “achievement,” but rather spiritual maturity, Falling Upward gives us a good starting point and we will use its key ideas for our fall community reading and sermon series. My hope is that it will provide a common framework and vocabulary as we continue to build a community of spiritual companions. 

We will begin the Falling Upward series in a little more than two weeks. The intended start date is Sunday, September 27. On the two intervening Sundays we will look at the “invitation” of this journey and what particular wisdom it might offer in this age of coronavirus, contentious elections, and pressing social justice issues