German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about women in a Paris park feeding birds with pieces of chewed and soggy bread. “It does them good,” he wrote, “to think that their saliva is getting out in the world a little, that the small birds will fly off with the taste of it in their mouths, even though a moment later they will naturally forget it again.”
How strange that in order to find meaning for themselves, people need to find it in something beyond themselves, in something bigger than themselves. Of course, considering how small, limited, self-contained and fleeting their selves are, where else could they find in something other than themselves?
Here’s there the Gospel of Christ comes in. Far from us being nothing but, what one scientist called “organized mud,” we are beings created in the image of God, a God who loved us so much that, in the person of Jesus Christ, He came to this world, took upon Himself our humanity, and in our humanity lived and died for us. That is, Jesus, “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). And He did that, for us.
No matter our station in life, when we grasp who we are in relationship to who God is, and what He had done for us, we can have a sense of meaning and purpose for ourselves that transcends the inevitable limits and boundaries our short, fleeting and, at times, painfully limited existence here.