In case I hadn't mentioned it, I am a fan of the music of Metallica and other metallists. This picture is my poorly effort at trying to capture a moment when I fortunate enough to be stood mere feet away when I went to see them perform last year in London. If you could give me a moment, I will now assume the pose (legs parted like an inverted 'V', Guitar Hero axe in hand, angry look, snarl, grrr). Let's Rock ....
In the circles that I mix in, largely made up of Christians or the mothers of other toddlers, or both (or neither, if I am alone), my taste in music is not fully understood. My old man hated it too, which was a pity when my brother and I still lived home, both of us with stereos, both abusing my dad's human rights by dint of assault by decibel. I love heavy metal, and more obnoxious, the better. Grrrrrr
But rock musicians are, my friends, much misunderstood. Their musical brilliance is overlooked, for example, because the artist is 'inked' (tattoos, dear, do keep up), or that it is better appreciated when the grammophone is turned up above 2. Mr Hetfield et al are, and they may hate me for saying this [like the musicians from Metallica will read this, pah], profound theologicans. Yes, that's what I said, you didn't just dream it.
Their 2009 album, 'Death Magnetic' (no, I don't either), has a song called The Unforgiven III, and in that song is a line that goes: 'How can I be lost, if I've got nowhere to go?' and 'How can I blame you, when it's me I can't forgive?' There is easily a sermon in each of these questions.
In parish life, the whole notion of 'somewhere to go' has become apparent on a number of fronts: outeach, financial, ministerial, spiritual, and others besides - we seek a destination. It seems that we are surrounded in life by so many who have 'nowhere to go', in the spiritual sense. I am among that number often as it seems unclear what the journey ahead is to hold for me. There are some Christians who, if they saw me in the street (out of uniform) would bound up and ask if I am lost, or if I want to be saved. My reply is likely to be 'sod off and leave me alone', but the question isn't wholly wrong.
I guess there is a process here. We need to find out where we are going in our lives. Then we will discover if we are lost or not (we may be pleasantly surprised). If we discover that we are lost, we can seek help and direction (but don't ask a man to ask for directions, of course - they just prefer to drive around for a while until the answer is discovered by accident). I think that the important thing is to recognise that the journey is life long, and maps aren't that big. We need to keep asking, keep checking, reviewing.
The second line in that song, I will just leave in the air. Guilty as charged, mate (speaking for myself...)