Every so often, I have a glimpse of what appears to be the movement of the kingdom. Only the other day I read how an alcoholic mother abandoned her baby in the edge of the desert. When he was discovered, he was alive. While not in good shape, he was alive, the medical types said, because a pregnant dog nursed that little boy child and he lived. I wept.
The type is the peaceable kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-10)
6 The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
The Antitype of the peaceable kingdom appears in the person of an emaciated baby boy and a poor old hound dog. I trust someone was good to her. Jesus told us we would encounter him among the poor.
Here we encounter the holy one in a pitiful but holy nativity.
Matthew 21: 42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;*
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes”?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.* 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’*
A mammal splashing in a pool just because it’s there is universal among those creatures who play. A little boy or a little elk share something that goes to the very core of life. It is more than humanity can claim as uniquely ours. No, this rises from the heart of the Creator and the mystery of glorious excess. There is beauty in useless things, unnecessary gestures and splashing in pools of water just because they are there and we are alive today. It goes beyond language finding it fullest expression in silence and a damp eye. JWS
I showed this film at the beginning of the Rector’s Address at the Annual Parish Meeting on December 15, 2013. In the spare, elegant work of the the Holy Spirit, a mirror story emerged at Saint John’s on December 7, 2013.
This is a brilliant piece of work. It is profoundly ironic bringing up short the self-absorbed Western culture. It also moves me, likely in a way that was unintended. I got a hint, a whiff of Heaven. In my imagination, it is a small gathering of friends after one of the Marriage Feasts that Jesus throws periodically for newcomers. In all honesty it moves me to tears of hope and joy.
The work of UNICEF, animated by a click of a cursor, brings to mind the words of Jesus, “If you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40.
Every day 18,000 children die from preventable causes. Inspired Gifts can make an immediate and dramatic difference in bringing that number to ZERO. No more children dying from unclean water, malnutrition or disease. No young lives lost for lack of shelter, immunizations, or basic medicines. Join us in believing in ZERO. Purchase Inspired Gifts today! [UNICEF website]
This is my favorite song from a new favorite artist: Brandy Clark. I love songs that tell stories. I love songs that tell stories with a simple, yet clever, use of words. Ms. Clark reminds me of Kate Campbell who is an inspired song writer.
Brandy also clearly knows some folks with substance abuse problems. Her read is right on and right painful. She holds up a mirror to our eyes and though it may be cracked it is also a real reflection.
To read the Holy Word egocentrically will lead to trouble. When God told Adam to have “Dominion” over creation, I’m afraid we understood our role in the very worse sense of the word. To have dominion is to be separate from; other than or to be exalted above, we thought, rather than to be steward of creation as the text most likely means. We read it as creation being something to be used (up?). You saw of course where that train was headed even before the whistle blew…
The Apple Gathers – Sir Ralph Spencer
We see ourselves as radically removed from nature rather than as a part of it. We are offended at being called the human animal. Our bent toward alienation makes us adverse to humility when the dirt is our salvation for we are not separate from nature.
Enter the apple…
English: Central Asia Español: Asia Central (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The apple has an elegant strategy for survival. Beginning in Central Asia the plant has taken root across the earth helped along by mammals love affair with its fruit, whose sweetness, a trait rare in nature, but very attractive to mammals. So off the apple went soon making common cause with animals/humans thus covering the earth. The success of the apple points out that humanity is more integrated as part of creation than we in our egocentricity are willing to admit.
Sam Shoemaker was one of the spiritual fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous. He was involved in the very earliest days of the movement. While not an alcoholic himself, he had a keen eye for the work of the Holy Spirit.