I’m not preaching this morning, so I’ve been up thinking, as in the old days. Not to say I don’t think anymore, but the kind of thinking I did pre-preaching and now are somehow different. This morning seemed like the pre-days, and my journaling was a bit more like spelunking, discovery…not so much trying to prove a thing.
I kept cycling back around to the big things, things that transcend. Life itself, the meaning of being human, the perceived, yet false, split of mind-body, as if human being is an awkward splicing of different elements that are in their essence completely foreign to each other. As I think about God making, and something interfering so that now death enters the picture, so that we all die, are dying, doomed to head back to dust, and as I consider what the work of God is today, what the work of divinity is, I keep wanting to climb out of the religious box into the open landscape of the real. To be clear, it is no rejection of religion, but a rejection of religion as a separate category, walled off from life as it must actually be lived.
Life given, death on the march, a rescue mission underway, always underway. Death is the big one, but every loss is a little death, from the inner battles lost, moments of sheer selfishness claimed in jaw-clenched rebellion to the slipping away of a half-century of dreams. “Who will save me from the body of death?” the apostle cries. We echo his answer so swiftly, but in our day, we often don’t want to say we need to be saved. As Thomas Merton said, the meaning of rescue is so much more than just getting back in the boat after having nearly drowned. When we’re drowning, and the moment is life and death, salvation means all the moments to come in the years gotten back when you climb out of the death lapping at your heels.
It’s so profound to say that life is the point. We’ve declared at the Northwest Church that one of our five core values is life, that life is the point of all it. However you perceive Him to be, God makes life to be lived. I sometimes want to push back and say no, the point is love. But then, love is life, life is love, back and forth, interdependent, one leads to the other and back again, a mobius strip of divine intention.
I also thought about those words of Paul. “Everything that does not proceed from faith is sin.” When we launch in fear and doubt, we miss the mark, which is the classical meaning of the Greek word in the NT translated “sin.” Faith matters in the world, in art-making, in sport, in relationship…everywhere the evidence points to the truth of Paul.
Holiness, love, power, faith, death, eternity, mind/body, the Christ…beauty, making…
Just thinking, praying, as in the old days…