In the newspapers and on TV the debate rages locally about the mayor wanting to take control of the school system. The sides are clearly drawn and sincere people debate, proclaiming the rightness of their position. On the news is the ongoing debate about health care reform legislation, the gridlock of the senate and who is controlling the vote, the debate and ability to achieve some sort of improvement in healthcare. New York State is embroiled over a severe deficit budget and there is argument about who will control the state budget process.
Control is a deep seated wish and desire for people. We often get the idea that if we have control we will be better off and we can get what we want. But do we get what we want? I have never had a true friend that I could control. We may end hostilities through military control but that is not real or lasting peace.
It hits much, much closer to home as I would really like to control my life and options more. To be able to do exactly what I would like to do and where I’d like to do it. But even when I had some control in the past I recall that things did not go as I had planned. My grandfather taught me that “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”
I was reminded last night by Nancy that one of the things we do in Baptism is to renounce our control. We give up control of our lives so that we can be open to God’s still small voice guiding us – the Spirit’s wind/breath of God blowing through us. And God does not lead us through known paths on straight byways. It is usually the path unknown, through brambles and thickets – but with beautiful views, a few moments of wonderment and a few of fear.
The issue is not really control. The core issue is political control while it should really be getting something significant accomplished for the common good. And if accomplishing the common good leads to reelection well and good. If not at least we were part of an effort to do what we believed is right. (In college I heard a quote that has stayed with me –though I have forgotten the author. “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.”
If we cede control to God and follow God’s leading we will assure ourselves of being allied with that which will ultimately succeed and which will eventually bring about good for God’s people and God’s creation.