Augustine of Hippo lived in the middle of the 4th Century. He was well educated before he became a Christian. After his conversion, Augustine applied his intellectual muscle to Christian theology. On the plus side, he gave us his autobiographical Confessions. On the negative, he gave us the theology of original sin, just war, and predestination.
From his Sermo 256 [Seriously? Just number your sermons? Is that really an option? All this time, I could have just used numbers? WOW. Guess what my sermon for Sunday is going to be titled?], “So then…let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do—sing, but continue your journey…Sing then, but keep going.” In its broader context the sermon suggested a here—there dynamic. The Here of this world held in tension with the There of the next world.
But listen closely…sing…sing away the anxiety, sing away the insecurity, sing despite the reality of death, sing in hope promised, sing as sojourners making your way home. Sing…but keep going.
Keep going. That’s a sermon in two words. I wonder what Augustine would name that one?
We could take ‘keep going’ as weak resignation: Keep going…there’s nothing to see here. Keep going…there’s nothing we can do. Keep going…we can’t, you can’t, I can’t. Keep going…this is someone else’s problem. Keep going…someone else will help.
My love affair with humanity compels me to keep going as an assertion all humanity…there is something to see. There is something we can do. We can. You can. I can. THIS (whatever THIS is) is our problem—justice, race, inequality, health, compassion, mercy, tolerance, patience, humility. Keep going...we can and must help.
So, sing. Sing in anxiety. Sing in peace. Sing in uncertainty. Sing in confidence. Sing in the face of death. Sing with the joy of life. Sing in hope promised. Sing in hope realized. Sing as you make your way home. Sing…but keep going.
I love you.
I need you.
I hope for you.
Please be safe.