From the Pastor…
On our recent vacation, Ann and I stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial, between Custer and Hill City, South Dakota, about 17 miles from Mt. Rushmore. It is an immense, ambitious undertaking, begun in 1948, privately funded, and far from completion. As a matter of scale, the four presidential heads of Mt. Rushmore could fit into what will be the facial profile and headdress of Crazy Horse.
According to its Wikipedia page, if completed (not when) it may become the world’s largest sculpture at 641 feet wide and 563 tall.
It is difficult not to think of this project as a grand work in progress, the product of a dream, of diligence and persistence, hard work and skill. A true engineering wonder.
Of course, the project is not without its detractors, among the most vocal being members of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe, who consider the project a defacement of sacred Black Hills ground. To paraphrase one individual, it could be likened to traveling to the Holy Land and seeing figures of Christ or David or Mohammed carved into Mt. Zion.
In any event, it seems there is no turning back now. It is a work in progress 68 years in the making, and momentum appears to be on its side.
I suppose one could consider the church a work in progress two thousand years in the making. Completion date isn’t even a category, though scripturally a viable endpoint is when Jesus returns, or when we are all one as the Father and Jesus are one (the former seems more likely than the latter at this point).
Some of the same ingredients are involved- diligence and persistence, hard work, people skills and administrative skills, faith-filled leaders who cast visions and keep others on task. And let’s not forget financial support.
Where the similarities begin to diverge is when one looks at momentum. In many areas of our lives, we feel the need to keep moving forward. If we’re not moving forward, then we must be standing still (not a “Berra-ism”).
Moving forward, whatever that means, is often equated with progress. Increased attendance and increased giving might quickly come to mind, even though these two things can be short-lived without a firm foundation involving a strong sense of purpose and community and acceptance.
Honestly, moving forward has never motivated me. In part because I’m not sure what it means. In part because it often enough seems to be about individual and personal striving, checking items off a list and moving on to the next thing. More about boredom than purpose, quantity over quality.
That being said, it’s probably not a bad thing to feel as though things are going well. And there’s something to be said for being inquisitive, not being afraid of growth and change (these last two go hand-in-hand).