It is cooler now, and so the mist lingers patiently over the summer-warm pond, framed by spiky cattails and the silhouettes of mallards gliding, graceful. It is easy to breathe. Is this how the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters, in the beginning? In a world not yet illumined by Let there be!..He was. Before the world, the Word.
I find a tree that seems bent to perfectly hold my body, and lean there, content. I feel comfort from material things, the solidness of this oak along my back, smell of wet stone, the sharp roughness of marsh grasses along my hand. I cannot imagine before the genesis of matter. But He was there, in the beginning.
When was the last time I took a moment like this? To remember who I am, and whose I am? It's been too long. And what brings me back but the God-breathed, created world. Gift upon daily gift, He makes Himself known to me. Will I have eyes wide open? A striking line from Terence Malik's Tree of Life rings deadly familiar about the human penchant for missing the gifts: "trees, birds. I dishonored it all and didn't notice the glory." Re-align my retina, reset the lens to rightly discern these symbols of His love. Look at the birds of the air. Consider the lilies. Creation as parable within parable within parable.
And even more than the world that surrounds, the worn book under my arm. God-breathed, written words. Where I learn of the Word that was with God in the beginning, made flesh, then dwelling among us. Watch how He walked. This takes more than the natural eye. Though You do not see Him, you love Him. It is more like hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching rolled into one, then magnified a hundred times. No wonder we are to eat the scroll, taste and see, hear and obey, sensory experiences all mixed. Maybe we need a sort of synesthesia to discern things spiritually. Is this what Paul means by combining spirituals with spirituals? (1 Cor. 2:13) And lest we begin to think that this is a kaleidoscope of images unconnected to reality, like the poet who pleads:
take me on a trip upon your magic, swirlin' ship
oh, my senses have been stripped
my hands can't feel to grip...
though you might hear laughin, spinnin', swingin' madly 'cross the sun
it's not aimed at anyone, it's just escapin' on the the run...
No. My senses are not looking to escape, but return. To repent and be revived and rejoined to the material and everyday. Only He who came and felt all in the flesh, loved deep, died in loneliness and utter pain, and rose triumphant forevermore can breathe into the dust and remake me like this.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.