Thoughts wandered while driving though the Minnesota backroads near Welch, a tiniest of settlements formed in 1860 with great hope on the banks of the Cannon river but now mostly a wide, but scenic, spot on the highway. Everywhere around the car autumn was settling in. Colors slightly changing. The sun dipping below the horizon ever earlier in the day. The cool in the air that reminds both man and beast that seasons are in flux.
As the road wound through the hills, thoughts followed the same circuitous route. Memories of a younger man so excited to go to seminary, so wanting to change the world, so sure the future was as wide and high and bright as the skies above a prairie farm. Amazing, the dreams of a young man with a Bible, a seminary degree, and the whole world in front of him.
Time has tempered that. The ideals remain. The hope is there. But as the years behind grow more than the years ahead experience has taught its lessons, sometimes gently and at times with great violence. It’s not that the world doesn’t need some major work. It’s just that great, broad strokes are most often not the way this is done and like it’s the work of ego to think that one person can rule the world it’s also ego to think one person can save it.
I don’t know if it’s wisdom, fatigue, or some combination of them but there’s a craving inside for the mundane, the every day. The young man’s dreams, illusions really, have been through the sausage maker of time and the result is things are both the same and different. Every ideal that spurred the young college graduate to not pursue a career in their field and take the leap to seminary remains but the applications have changed.
The world, in the end, is saved by the mundane, the everyday. Occasionally an apostle of some sort emerges on the face of the earth for a time and a place but for the most part the work of this Kingdom is done every day, a baptism here, a sermon there, a moment to help a struggler, even the seemingly endless meetings are a part of it. And there’s a craving inside for that kind of mundane, a parish, a home, a city, a place and the everyday life that once seemed like so much of a compromise and now seems like something that should have happened a long time ago.
In fact it did, and still is happening, but perhaps it takes a drive through the backroads near Welch to figure it out.