Living Up To Expectations
The theme for this year is:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous – 1 Peter 2:9
And I’m thinking a little more along the edge lines.
Our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t, and we’re slowly learning that fact.
A stark contrast, I know. But also very parallel.
I pull this quote from Fight Club where at about one hour and seven minutes, Tyler Durden addresses a group of men about their potential. The same potential we have.
To be a chosen generation.
To backtrack, I must admit, I am not new to this idea of blogging. Not in the least, as it were. Between writing for my major and having a personal soap box stuffed into the corners of the internet, I find that I’m all too comfortable with the idea of putting my words out there. However, I’d rather not pander to you all. Nor do I have any desire to remain anything but frank, though I’ll try to keep any repugnant profanity or rambling to a minimum.
I will say that this theme strikes me right to the heart. I find myself to be the least of all likely people to fit the high-profile of which Peter speaks. Think about it. Truly and deeply. “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” That’s about as deep as it gets. And meanwhile, it’s been nearly 50 years (49 to be exact) since The Who first sang “My Generation” and declared that the youth are different. And in that time, we still see a revolt of the young against the old, to challenge and push borders and change the game until said youth becomes the adults fighting so hard to retain the norms they created. A vicious cycle, to say the least. But the more our dueling age factions bat around ideas of who is right, the more the world seems to darken. We push for freedom, we get depravity as we are left to our own devices. We push for less accountability, we are given messes that no one can clean because no one learned how to do so.
But still, we are chosen.
Because as Allen Ginsberg put it:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes…
Albeit, this was written in 1955, but I think just the language makes it more pertinent now. One generation, driven to madness of sorts. And who would contest that the world is mad, insane, absolutely out of its collective mind? And these “angelheaded hipsters” all searching for a God in the machine of the world around them. A deep yearning for spiritual depth. And what are we searching for if not the same thing? We’re all now those “who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes,” every one of us clearly having “bared their brains to Heaven.”
Now, you’ve got to think, we’re this generation. And we’re quite probably failing. But we’re chosen. Fully and completely. Despite our fallbacks. As put beautifully by Morri Creech in his poem Prayer to my Living Father from his collection Paper Cathedrals:
Forgive me, Father,
if I am not among them. All my life
I have tried to accept the grace
I was offered. Father, when you enter
into your kingdom, remember me.
We may not be the holiest, or most devout, but we are chosen. And as I said earlier, this world may be darkening all around us, but the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel wouldn’t be so bright if there weren’t darkness surrounding it. As such “You are a chosen generation…. that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” This may be darkness we’re seeing, but it is light we’re erupting into. Blinding and wonderful and warm, like the first spring suns after long winters.
We’re a chosen generation.
Act like it.
Be that holy nation and forget what’s holding us back. As put best by Kerouac in his poem Hymn:
but O I saw my father
and my grandfather’s mother
and the long lines of chairs
and tear-sitters and dead,
Ah me, I knew God You
had better plans than that
And Kerouac ends by saying “At your service anyway,”.
We’re a royal priesthood. And we have the same service to do. Service to God our whole life long. Join me in making the service a good one.