June 06, 2012 - "School's Out" (for summer), by Alice Cooper, was the sound track for my first summer after graduating from high school.
Released the summer before, it was still very popular and played constantly on the AM radio.
"No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks." "School's been blown to pieces."
Now my son is graduating from high school and the song still strikes a responsive chord with his generation.
Although formal education may end for most of us, school is never truly out. Most of the lessons I've learned over the years, most of the practical application stuff that I use came after I graduated from high school, after I graduated from college and after I graduated from seminary. Life is the great teacher and we are lifetime learners.
People sometimes ask if there is a purpose to living, or if they still have lessons to be learned.
And my answer is, if you are still sucking air, walking on the earth and not 3 feet above it or 6 feet below it, you still have a purpose and lessons to learn to prepare you for your next adventure in life on this side or the other.
Our job is to awaken to the possibilities. God is infinite, unlimited, eternal existence and we are made in the image and after the likeness of this infinite, unlimited, eternal existence.
We stagnate when we are full of ourselves and are not open to new and creative ideas for life and living. And, stagnation is death. As I gain more experience with this adventure called life and living, the more I know I don't know.
When I graduated from high school I knew it all. Full of myself I had to go through periods of darkness, times of pain and suffering in order to be opened to a greater level of awareness.
Times of soul searching, experimenting with alternative spiritual paths, counter culture and mind dynamics, etc., have led me to a place where I know it's not about having the right answers but being able to ask the right questions.
The more I know, the more I know I don't know. Eventually I imagine that I will know nothing and since nothing is greater than God that must surely be the epitome of understanding: Nirvana, Samadhi, Heaven, Bliss.
Today the sun is shining. Tomorrow it may rain and storm.
And, the sun is always shining above the clouds; the light of God is always constantly, continually, consistently shining in and through and as you, as me.
Above the darkness of sense consciousness, beyond the feelings of loss and fear, transcending the error beliefs in lack and limitation; spiritual awareness awaits our conscious recognition.
I trust that you will remember to plug into your spiritual community this summer. Here we remember to celebrate life and connect with the infinite, unlimited possibilities for expression as children of God. "Where two or three are gathered" (Mt. 18:20) there is a greater energy, a transcendent reality, a higher power present. Here you can receive support to realize your potential for peace, wholeness and abundance in unity with your spiritual community.
Blessings of peace, joy & love
The Rev. Matthew E. Long is senior pastor of Peace Unity Church and Holistic Center