The Endless Immensity of the Sea
There are times in my sermon preparation that I come across quotes that resonate with me far beyond when I make use of them in the pulpit.
One such quote has been ringing in my ears for several weeks now. It comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of The Little Prince, and I came across it in a fascinating book I cited in a sermon recently, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by Jamie Smith
Smith argues that we follow the desires of our heart and the longings of our souls much more than the thoughts of our minds. He writes,
We are oriented by our longings, directed by our desires. We adopt ways of life that are indexed to such visions of the good life, not usually because we “think through” our options but rather because some picture captures our imagination. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of The Little Prince, succinctly encapsulates the motive power of such allure: “If you want to build a ship,” he counsels, “don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
I love that image: the endless immensity of the sea.
We all have some vision of what we want or image of what it would mean for us to live a “good life.” It’s this vision that motivates us, much more than what we know we should do or say, or who we should be.
The question for us as people becomes: What do we love in this way? What do we long for? What is our grand vision of the good life that motivates our habits and actions and beliefs?
And from there, the question for us as a church becomes: How are we helping to shape these longings to be more in line with the gospel? How are we providing space for this to happen? Are we equipping each other for this kind of spiritual formation?
I believe we are.
In the sermon time in worship this summer we’ll be taking a look at some of the formative actions and beliefs that bind us to each other here and with the wider body of the church, but that also serve to shape this vision of the good, gospel life to which we calibrate our hearts.
I hope a trip to the beach is somewhere in your plans this summer. But even if it’s not, I hope you’ll join us in worship as we long together for the endless immensity of the sea.