How is it with your soul?

Is your soul at home? Are you at home in your soul?

Is your soul at home in the world – in the world but not wholly of the world – calm and well-balanced, like a little boat floating upon still waters at dawn?

Is your soul at home in the world – in the world but not wholly of the world – rooted deep and strong in the Lord, like a tree holding fast on the river’s shore?

How is it with your soul?

Maybe that question draws a blank.
Maybe we’re out of touch with our soul. Like it’s gotten lost.
Maybe the question startles us out of distraction into realizing it’s gotten lost. That can be like losing your keys, “O no! Where are my keys? Where did I put them? Think back …”
Or it can be worse, more like realizing your child has gone missing – the question jolts us into action, racing out, calling, calling, calling.

So, how is it with your soul?

Sometimes we don’t know, because the truth is we’d rather not know, the truth is our soul is troubled, sorely troubled.
Maybe the truth is our soul has run away and is hiding somewhere because it’s gotten hurt and scared.
Or maybe the truth is our soul has gone off on a bender because it just can’t deal with all anymore.
Or maybe the truth is our soul is out prowling around picking fights and getting bit and beat up so we can have more grievances to drag around and gnaw on.

How is it with your soul?

Is your soul hurting?
Is it hurting because of grief? Howling in the winds of some precious thing that has been snatched away?
Is it hurting because of guilt? The sawing knowledge of some grave harm we have committed? Or the dull weight of our own hardheartedness, hanging like a millstone inside us?
Has our soul disappeared because it’s on a witness protection program? Have we so shocked our conscience that it’s locked away, no longer keeping us back from letting sin lead to sin?

Or maybe your soul hurting because other souls are hurting? Other souls are hurting in ways we can’t change? Or hurting in ways we can change, maybe? Souls near and dear to you? Souls far away?
Is your soul hurting because of some grave harm others have done?
Even done in your name but without your will?
Is your soul hurting because of some grave betrayal of what is good and true and right and just? Is your soul hurting because of some grave betrayal of what should be most sacred and holy in this world?

How is it with your soul?

Is it like there’s a fire locked up in your bones? As with the prophet Jeremiah of old? Has your Creator caused to grow in you a fire that’s pressing to be unleashed?

Is there a word of truth you are called to speak?
Is there an act of love you are called to commit?
Is there some courageous, outrageous thing of beauty you are called to create?
Is there some great labor you are called to undertake with all your muscle and mind and marrow?

How is it with your soul?

Is your soul at rest after a great labor to which you have been called?
Is your soul ringing with that satisfaction that comes after good, hard, holy work? A day well lived … or a moment … or a lifetime?
Is your soul getting nourished, drawing in that good milk, which springs from the Holy Source of all Life?
Is your soul resounding with gratitude for it all?
Is your soul lit with delight?

How is it with your soul?

Is your soul at home? Are you at home in your soul?

Is your soul at home in the world – in the world but not wholly of the world –  calm and well-balanced, like a little boat floating upon still waters at dawn?

Is your soul at home in the world – in the world but not wholly of the world -rooted deep and strong in the Lord, like a tree holding fast on the river’s shore?

How is it with your soul?

This question is the beginning of prayer. And the answer -whatever it is – is the heart of prayer.
In all things, through all things, when we offer our soul to God – whatever its condition – we can be led to what we need to be well and whole.
So that we may sing with the old hymn, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

(Delivered June 10, 2018, at First Congregational Church of Walla Walla, by Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg)