The Meaning of Life
I rewatched The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night on DVD. In the film (books and radio programs too) the burning multi-million year quest for a group of pan-dimensional beings is to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I think I do understand the meaning of life fairly well and have often wondered if it is one of those answers that is so simple we look for other answers.
For example the answer to losing weight is widely (pun more or less intended) known and well understood. To lose weight eat less and exercise more. This is no secret. And yet, people want other schemes, something easier, or perhaps a pre-digested (too punny?) program that gives the low-down on how to slim down (South Beach Diet, etc.).
Whether you are a Christian or not, the fact that we humans are created to be in relationship with one another would seem to be self-evident. Our bare survival depends upon relationships and so does our thriving. Our times of greatest happiness and sadness grow out of our relationships.
As a Christian, I belive in a Trinitarian God. As complex as this doctrine is (1+1+1=1), the concept of the Trinity is sometimes seen as irrelevant. But for me, the Trinity reveals that God was in relationship before creation and created all creation to be in relationship with God. Not only is this orthodox Christian teaching, but it fits with our own experiences of being created for relationships.
I'm sure at some metaphilosophical level I am answering the wrong question, but at the day to day level it works for me that the meaning of life is to be in relationship with God and all creation. That answer doesn't just bring comfort, but the challenge of treating all others as if they were created for the same. It's not like having the answer to the big question. It's more like having an answer that opens up a never-ending series of questions about how one might live into that connection between God and one another.
This is a bit of an ongoing theme for me and in the archives you will find the sermon Koinonia—a deeper connectedness and an old blog post Both/And on the Trinity and the essential connectedness among all things. Then there is The Great Cloud of Witnesses that considers the real world practicality of this view. Finally, there is my more recent Three Short Sermons on the Trinity.
So hit me with your best shot. How far off base am I on the meaning of life?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church