Thursday, February 09, 2006
Vox Humana: Wilderness
So, what of this God we try to describe, to contain within cunningly arranged words? Creeds, mottoes, core values arbitrary or not. The living God of the Universe is unnetted, uncontained, locked out. He stands outside the net working between the strands that only serve to separate us from him.
His Word is a sword sharp enough to cut the net. The Living Word, Jesus himself, he of the bloodstained cross whence he went by his own choice. His love is a singular solvent, working to separate words far enough that a Spirit can work between them and touch the contained soul.
Words make our world, our future. They reshape the past. They warp our view of reality, our thoughts and then our actions. What is spoken becomes real, whether it is true or not. We end up so short of daylight amid the weeds that grow from this strong wordy fertilizer that we think that's all there is. Reality is what we make it. Outside the thicket still stands the Person who made it all, even the ground from which the weeds grow. He offers tools to address the ground and turn it to better use than this crop of choking stems.
Where is truth? Where is beauty? In opinion, or in God? The beauty of God's gifts is wrapped around a singular ability to teach us truth, and how to recognize it. The Holy Spirit's burning-but-lifegiving touch, truth-pain and life-beauty together, gives us the vision to see beyond the net of words to the image that God works constantly to bring about. What marvellous, what impossible gifts! Truth that lives inside us! Beauty available at the turn of a word, the softening of a heart that knows its broken nature and cries out in desperation for some kind of solace.
Words pile up bricks immovable around the delicate soul. The soul dies for want of air and light. God somehow dissolves the bricks and the soul screams. "My protection! My safety! How will I survive? I will be dissolved too!" And it imagines beasts ravening. The beasts are real, but no match for God's protection.
Fear drives me away from God. Fear drives me back. Fear of love, fear of what God might do with me. Then fear of the cold desolate desperate wastes I've lived in for so long that the sight of a single blade of grass sets me to shivering with terror. What is this thing growing within me? God, what are you doing?
Could it be that I'm falling in love? I, who have never loved anything, learning that love starts with Jesus, outside of the chuch's words? Can I learn, really learn and live, to nurture that blade of grass growing impossibly in a desert 50 years wide? That seems to be God's goal, day by itchy, irritable, tedious hidden-soul day.
If I am glad of anything in this, it's that God is not words. He refuses to fit my descriptions, my ideas, my plans. He is resolutely himself, a never-changing personal maker of my univers whose presentations to me change as I change in perfectly flexible adaptations that were modelled in Jesus' participation in our world. Always himself, always just what another human being needed. Truth presented with a glare and a twinkle, heart walking among the soul-destroyers with determination and delight.
To touch him, to cut through the net of words and be speared by his gaze, seared by his touch, is to feel something I don't understand. Pure life, perhaps, something that calls insistently even to my mostly-dead self. Paul counted everything he'd done as loss beside the presence of Jesus in his life. I, quaking, terrified, astounded, am beginning to understand why. Even if I can't put it into words.