We're on the precipice today.
As a region, we're on the precipice of summer, ready to tumble into the school year and, soon after, fall weather.
As a country, we're on the precipice of a presidency as we roll into the primary debates for 2016 candidates.
As a planet, we're on the precipice of an environmental shift, likely a crisis. Though we don't know exactly what's next, none of it seems good.
On the precipice is precisely where we need guidance. I recently met with my mentor and my first words were, "I'm not sure if I'm looking for you to push me off the cliff or pull me back." By the end, he responded, "If you were looking for someone to pull you back, you came to the wrong person." With his guidance, he pushed me off the precipice of that particular situation.
That's the thing about the precipice of any situation in life. As you stare over the cliff, there's an attraction to what's next. To the thrill of the jump. To the wind in your hair. To the cool water as you dive in. But if you just jump in, you have no idea where you're going.
One time, while traveling Europe on the cheap with my brother, we went canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland. In other words, we put on helmets and wet suits and jumped off of twenty foot waterfalls into glacial pools. It was incredible! We were safe because, at every precipice, we had a guide point to where we should aim. Once, I went juts a bit right of the target and my leg bounced off of a submerged boulder. The guide knew what he was talking about and pointed us to safety.
That's a great guide, one who maximizes joy but ensures security. Some guides might have told us it was too dangerous to jump. Others might have ignored us entirely. But our guide loved the joy we exhibited and showed us the way to magnify that experience without truly risking injury. As you look for guidance in your life, look for the guides who will have this kind of attentiveness to you. Who will stand with you, share your joy, and point you to a path that is thrilling without risking your destruction.
As we stand on the precipice of another school year with Highlander Lutherans, that's how I see my role as a campus pastor. How do I maximize the kind of joy that this time of life has to offer while also providing sound advice that leads to a thriving life rather than destructive habits. Pointing to a fun community and exciting opportunities while fostering an atmosphere that values the educational and preparational aspects of university life. Pointing to Jesus Christ as the trajectory of the jump off the precipice, where the wind will blow in our faces, the fall will be thrilling, and the love of the universe will catch us in crucified arms every time.
Every time we come to a precipice in life, my prayer is that we are ready for guidance and seeking it actively. And every time we're asked, I pray we're attentive guides that help people to seek exciting, life-giving opportunities, all in the name of Jesus.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.