Once upon a time in a land far away, an editor had an idea. He solicited a number of authors and asked them to write a story given the following given: Jesus returns in a very public display of power and glory.
The editor collected the stories and put them in an anthology. I bought it. I read it. You can guess the stories. Almost universally, somehow, someway, every story centered around a theme that Jesus was denied, questioned, or sought to be exploited. There was no “happy ending”.
You would think that people would be satisfied with Jesus’ second coming. It would be a time of world-wide rejoicing. The end of strife, the beginning of heaven on earth?
But somehow we don’t get it. We never did.
Mark’s rendition of Jesus’ calming the storm tells us that.
It’s confusing I admit.
A lady who saw the shooter from South Carolina was adamant that God had made her be on that highway, had forced her to pay close attention to the news, all because she was His instrument to bring the man to justice. She is utterly convinced, so she says, that God directed it all. Yet, that must mean he directed the shooter to kill innocents too. If God controls, well, he controls the good and bad. If he pulled you off a flight that would eventually crash, he failed to do so for the hundred or so who perished.
We aren’t very good at defining God.
We are even less good at describing how God operates.
We say that all we think about God is nothing more than what God is not. Augustine said that or words to that effect at the very beginning of this adventure in Christianity. We can forgive him perhaps since God was in his Christian infancy and nobody could be expected to “get it right.”
Atheists complain that believers continue to narrow where God fits as science expands the world we do understand. God is no more the creator of thunder and whirlwinds. We have science for that.
The problem with atheists is that they just figure that everything that we now don’t know, we will someday figure out. And the ever shrinking God will finally be reduced to a comical pinhead. They assume this is true because history has proven to be a movement from lesser knowledge to greater. Why won’t it continue?
But there are unknowns that will always be indescribable and never pinned down and defined or explained. What of beauty? Define it in absolutes and you will soon have no hair on your head from the tugging and twisting. I issue nothing new in this, for such vagueries apply to truth and freedom and other states of being that defy us to establish any perimeter that will hold.
Mystery abounds and will always do so, no matter how science probes and explains all manner of phenomenon. Reality is a constant shifting, not quite in focus thing. The present becomes the past in each blink of the eye, and future shrinks as it becomes present, all the while expanding at the horizon, infinitely.
We spend almost no time with these thoughts, deeming them curious and shrug worthy after brief bouts of wrinkled brow thinking. But these are the thoughts of God. Time spent slipping over the event horizon into the abyss of unknowing brings counterintuitively, what? Clarity? Yes, surprisingly so.
We don’t have to land on an outcrop of rocks to break our fall into forever, we suddenly realize that we are floating, and we can look around at all this. We can examine time and we can move into no time. As our comfort increases, we open, relax, given up and give in and give out in one inexplicable action. We rest in God, and we KNOW that we do.
Yet we can describe it barely at all. It is reserved for the hushed tones of pure sound and pure color, and pure movement. We touch it briefly and we cause it, by the attempt, to leave us. For it will not bear the focus of intent to SEE it for what it is. It will remain on the periphery, fuzzy, undefined, graspable but elusive. Like the soap bubble that bursts leaving us but a dampness on the fingertips as a passing reminder that we were in the presence of something much more real than what passes for reality.
We bask in the warmth of safety and of peace. Love hovers over all, providing a blanket of such quiet joy that we feel our hearts wrench. The atheist merely cries, “wow, one hell of a sunset” and moves on, retracing his steps to the car, gunning the engine and heading for the bar for a beer and a burger. We sit shaken by the experience, hungering for more, but realizing that such moments are gifts offered for the moment, then snatched away before they becomes routine and common.
Jesus speaks to his disciples and is mildly amused. He plaintively asks, “do you not yet have faith?”
What does it take?
Why must we bind it to saving our souls and accomplishing feats of healing and other tangible results? Is it not enough on its own, or must there be a payoff to count? Yeah, lady, God may love me but what has he done for me lately? We want a servant God. We want him like that genie in a bottle to just wait upon our needs. We want to be saved, and blessed, and presented with bounty. If we are going to do this thing, God better pay off!
Once you enter into the mysteries and stop fighting to logically deduce.
You can call it something else, and you probably will, but that changes nothing. There will be other opportunities and perhaps one day, you will let go and Let God.