Saturday, October 21, 2006
An Unfinished Story
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"
I never thought I would ever become anything resembling a 'thinker', let alone someone who actually gets paid (beer money) to put those thoughts on to paper (well, keyboards and then ping them off through cyber-space to an editor) - I was thrown out of English Literature for asking too many questions about Mrs Macbeth's sexual leanings, I became far too animated in my longing to know what she really wanted when she cried, 'un-sex me!' - and most people just assumed I would make it as a rubgy or football player (injuries meant neither were an option).
In the end I turned to the only thing I was good at - the arts
And so here I am thinking about some things far too much, and some things not nearly enough...
Today I have been thinking about firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me explain that one a little. For me the obvious theological centre is the incarnation, and I wonder if this was a kind of hotmail address that Jesus had during his 30 odd years here? Think about it - he's a long way from home and just maybe he picked up messages using this email? Too far fetched? I'm not so sure...
The Kingdom of God is exactly that - heaven, here now and present. C.S. Lewis alludes to this in his remarkable work, 'The Great Divorce' - that heaven is an intensification of life rather than an abstraction from it. If that is so, finding heaven isn't about waiting until we die for some etheral nirvana, but having our eyes opened to what is already here.
'Thin places' (like Iona and Greenbelt) are spots where heaven becomes easier to experience through some sort of warp in the divine force field. God is present everywhere and anywhere - heaven is all around us - even in and through the mundane and dare I say it, the profane.
Faith therefore does not involve an escape or withdrawal from life, but a radical plunge into it and love for it. Because of creation and the incarnation the earth is sacred. It is the womb and the dreaming of the hopes of God, and so it is that we must honour the earth and respect it by the way we tend it. Not only would I say that heaven is in earth but that after the ascension, earth is in heaven: the risen Christ has nail holes in his hands and a scar in his side from a spear - in truth, humanity is now a very real and visible part of the Godhead
The eucharist is one way of making this visible - the fact that earthly life is suffered with heavenly glory - perhaps we should stop hoping for the end of history when God will call 'a wrap', and start working with God in transforming history, here and now - midwives, if you like.
Just maybe we won't eventually go to live where God is, but rather that God has already moved to where we are and is planning to stick around until earth becomes heaven - email@example.com? Who knows, is that heresy or is it that, maybe, I think too much
Whatever, as we journey we have 3 options
i, to be alive and thirsty
ii, to be dead
iii, to be addicted
There are no other choices. Most of the world lives in addiction; most of the church has chosen to be dead. Followers of the carpenter are called to a life of longing....