True North

(This week’s blogs are two of last year’s favorites, and I’m reposting them because I am spending time with family this Christmas holiday. Fresh blogs will post in January. Merry Christmas!)

IMG_6806-796x1024I’ve been pondering the meaning of “true north” lately. Some people develop a new list of resolutions this time of year, while I assess previous commitments to analyze how I’m delivering.

In navigational terms, true north describes the direction of the North Pole as related to a traveler’s position. The North Star (constellation Orion) is the celestial pole of true north astrologically. Culturally, the phrase refers to something or someone keeping a friend or loved one pointed in the right direction. Spiritually for me, it means Christ. In all three instances, true north is a guide, or beacon used to right oneself in life.

I live in a part of the country where folks “don’t always remember drinking the Kool Aid in the seventies,” like this lively fellow in the photo above. Our mountains crawl with Rastas, Taoists, Buddhists, Agnostics, Gaia worshippers, and people waving smoking sage wands — what is this last group called, anyway? We’ve a pretty fair sampling of everything except the Jedi religion ranking second (no joke) in the U.K. Consciously or subconsciously, we’re all — with the possible exception of the medical marijuana users — looking for true north.

True north is elusive. Can be obscured by stress during periods of life when you just can’t get to it all, much less yourself. Responsibility — even to teaching Sunday School or attending book club or doing the other dozens of ministerial things surrounding church membership — can overwhelm our vision of true north. Debt, commercialism, discord, upheaval: so many necessary elements of contemporary life prevent us from steering our ship toward our North Star.

My annual re-commitment to true north begins today. I seek to convey the love of Christ to all I encounter, use my God-given gifts to His highest glory, and joyfully praise Him in every endeavor. My prayer is that you find the strength, courage, and clarity to do the same.

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