Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lines on God's face

In his book "Blue Like Jazz", Donald Miller, an Oregon author, starts a chapter with these words:
I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the
wind and the water, and I wondered how beautiful
that was because it meant you swim in Him or have Him brush your face
in a breeze.  I am early in my story, but I believe
I will stretch out into eternity and in heaven I will reflect upon
these early days, these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road,
walking toward me.  Years ago He was a swinging speck in the distance; now He
is close enough I can hear His singing.  Soon I will see the lines on His face

I love the spirit of what Don is talking about here. Think about what these images reflect.  The word I would use to describe the theme embodied in this images rings clear to me - intimacy.  Not just intimacy, but growing intimacy.
In the image of wind a water we have the concept of a God who touches us.  More than touches us, caresses us.  Not with physical hands, but with presence.  With the wind of the Spirit.  With power and love.  There is something intimate about a caress.  The light touch of fingers across skin.  We sometimes think of God as being heavy handed.  But God as wind and water reminds us that God has a gentle, an oh so gentle touch.

Then there is that image of the man walking down the road.  Once far off, barely visible, vague, than increasingly closer, increasingly clear.  Until one can see "the lines on His face."  That one who slowly becomes so familiar.  As God moves toward us, and I believe God always does, and as we move toward God, as hopefully we do (although I am not sure how that happens -  my guess is it happens in a different way for different folk), then the gap closes.. God become clearer, more familiar.  And we find the closer we get to God the more real God becomes.  Moving from vague wanderer, to mysterious singer of songs, to that wrinkled grandparent like being who draws near and loves us as only a parent, or better yet, grandparent can love us :)

And what is amazing is that this caressing God, who chooses to move toward us on the road of life, will ultimately draw closer still, and become a part of our journey, and ultimately a part of us.

And that is when our lives really begin to change

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