What a strange time. If Solomon was right and there is truly “nothing new under the sun,” it must be ab origine that we find ourselves wondering, “What could possibly come next?” and marveling at the weirdness of the nature of man, in spite of it never having changed from the garden until today. Flatus vocis. Surely we are getting weirder.
The imaginal cells of God’s primordial creation are still somehow at work and it is by His grace alone when we emerge from our gooey cocoons as butterflies not not hornets. We alight on his purposes to sing our hymns and flutter away mindlessly.
That is the power of grace; the strength of the mercy in the Gospel.
Not the American gospel of hard work and reward; prosperity and justice. The American gospel is a lie, and we’re suckers for taking it too seriously.
After all, what has our prosperity earned us? What have we bought with all that labor?
The best of us this week didn’t come from our strength. It came from our weakness. From the baptism of tragedy we saw godliness emerge. In our excesses, we only see dull humanity.
Perhaps we ask too much of ourselves when we vie for safety. Maybe the best of us comes from tragedy; and we should hope for it more.
We should escape the cocoons. We should alight on his purposes. We should sing our hymns and give Him our hallelujahs and be grateful that in the tragedy of our souls, where the water has cut deep caverns and, over millennia, left dry bones with a fast quip and a taste for bad wine, He pours new water that quenches thirst and infuses dry bones with blood and life.
In return, He asks that we yield. He asks that, finally, after all the crooning for bad wine and the twisting of the clock that turns flesh and bone into dust and lays galaxies to waste; that after chasing shadows through the wastelands far from home where the shadows slip into deeper shadows, and the sun sinks at our backs and we dip deeply into the gulf within ourselves; He asks that we turn ourselves over. And, when we do, He stoops to put a cool cloth to us; to clean us up. He wipes off the shame and regret and the lostness that our wandering could not solve — and the bitter and demanding urgency to matter. And He just gives that to us; that thing we strive and scratch and claw and connive and twist and spit and cuss to produce. He just gives it away and in astounding abundance.
And He settles us into one of many rooms in His Father’s house; a room meant for us, with curiosities from the wasteland that were hidden behind the shadows, but were the evidence that all the loneliness and chasing was somehow always meant for this room in this house and those curiosities bear His mark, like scored stone markers highlighting a path we never knew we were traveling, but brought us here. And we bear new marks too; His, and His for us, which is like a beautiful and happy scar. A strange reminder of a time of sadness that can only be remembered with joy.
Multiverse galaxies sing as their gears turn like a machine ingesting time and exhausting grace, spraying glimmering drops of dew containing universes and machines and glories of their own. And, for all the beauty, the great mystery of His grace it that is belongs to the mundane; it is the miracle hiding in every stop at the post office, and every staff meeting, and every diaper changed. For all the work of the wasteland that reaped so little reward and cost so much, the grace of the gospel does its work like a scout sent out before His people to look deep into the frontier and illuminate our footsteps to His glory.
For the Father of Creation, who, with His invisible hand, powers the motion of the atoms and whose Spirit proceeds to give Life, gripped the machinery of time and space and wrought His Son to be born amongst His Creation; a new thing begotten in the mysteries of His authority and love, to blaze a new path for mankind home unto Himself through His own suffering and blood. The Father, Son, and Spirit are co-equal kings of eternity; Lords of a mansion home to his people, whom he has drawn unto Himself, for His own glory. His rod and his staff are a strange mercy in a world where we are not yet home, but we look toward the day now born not yet delivered when His people feast at His table and share in an inheritance not earned, but freely given and binding all to Him and to one another through His blood.
And we shall not want. And and the prosperity and all the suffering will be a chapter in a book only beginning, a book about Him and His people, wherein each chapter gets weirder. And we know Him – and love Him – better.