By faith Abraham obeyed… and he set out, not knowing where he was going.                                                                           (Hebrews 11.8)


 ‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit…You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’

                                                                                               (Luke 12.35-40)


         JACK KEROUAC also wrote, I have nothing to offer anyone but my own confusion.” This didn’t stop the French Canadian poet from writing ten of the most powerfully influential novels of the mid twentieth century, his spontaneous beat-jazz style in itself an act of faith. His work On the Road, considered to be a defining moment in the literature of the Beat Generation, was written in a three week “stream of consciousness” and typed uncorrected onto a single, uncut roll of paper. The novel ended because the paper ran out. Well that’s the legend at least. Then again, trying to get the same story twice from Kerouac even as to the origin of his own name was a nugatory pursuit. The only constant was that it was in some way Celtic!

Nevertheless, for me there are two ideas of value here in relation to our Bible readings today. First is the notion that Kerouac was indeed prepared to offer whoever would read it his “confusion.” Second is Kerouac’s focus not on defining or aspiring to destination but on the process of travelling itself: “no matter, the road is life.”

Isaiah’s poetic rhetoric leaves little room for doubt what God thinks about the careful religious practices and appeasements for sin of his “chosen” Israelite people. What God asks from his people is lives of faith. Faith is seldom if ever about certainty. It does however often involve travelling about in confusion! Why? Because God wants us to be confused or because God needs our faith? No. It’s because God loves us and God wants us to be free – free to choose love and so to actually love. To be able to love, it is necessary to let go of knowing, of certainty, of control, of projection. In the confusion and sublime clarity of the road, it is possible to lose our grip on self and so discover we have already arrived.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12.32)

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on August 6, 2016.

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