Farewell to Kierkegaard (for now)

Well, almost a year after I started, I’ve finished the Kierkegaard Anthology which has been fueling my imagination (and my weblog entries) recently. As I look back on the small but important bits I read of his writings, I believe they will have a lasting impact, and be one of the ways in which I remember developing over the past year. The last piece which the editor included was The Unchangeableness of God, a sermon Kierkegaard gave which was published close to the end of his life, somewhat contemporary with his more scalding critiques of Christendom.

I want to leave you, my good reader who has valiantly suffered through my musings on Kierkegaard, with something he said near the end of the address, and which I think is what Kierkegaard himself would have wanted us to remember maybe more than anything else in his massive corpus:

Imagine a solitary wayfarer, a desert wanderer. Almost burned by the heat of the sun, languishing with thirst, he finds a spring. O refreshing coolness! Now God be praised, he says–and yet it was merely a spring he found; what then must not he say who found God!

And then:

But Thou, O God, who art unchangeable, Thou art always and invariably to be found, and always to be found unchanged. Whether in life or in death, no one journeys so far afield that Thou art not to be found by him, that Thou art not there, Thou who art everywhere. It is not so with the well-springs of the earth, for they are to be found only in special places. And besides–overwhelming security!–Thou dost not remain, like the spring, in a single place, but Thou dost follow the traveller on his way. Ah, and no one ever wanders so far astray that he cannot find the way back to Thee, Thou who art not merely as a spring that may be found–how poor and inadequate a description of what Thou art!–but rather as a spring that itself seeks out the thirsty traveller, the errant wanderer: who has ever heard the like of any spring! Thus Thou art unchangeably always and everywhere to be found. And whenever any human being comes to Thee, of whatever age, at whatever time of the day, in whatever state: if he comes in sincerity he always finds Thy love equally warm, like the spring’s unchanged coolness, O Thou who art unchangeable! Amen!

Amen, indeed.

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

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