You Need to Be here...
I'm sitting in the backyard, studying the Bible at the end of a week when I said good bye to a young man who diedof cancer, and am preparing to attend another funeral tomorrow, and still another on Saturday.
And yet... the fir in the backyard is ripe with cones, and the bees are celebrating their last hurray. The redwood is another green; the shedding parts are yellow, dropping to the forest floor while the living cling to the branch and dance in the wind. Cedars dance too, and wind gives voice to the hanging chimes. Behind it all is what one could best describe as virgin sky - sky untouched by any of we lesser creatures, leaving the blue of perfection to declare beauty and glory.
Though it's on shuffle, Sufjan Stevens begins singing right in this precious moment: "Holy Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty!" and I know in this moment that beyond death, loss, senseless, injustice, mystery, and unanswered prayer, there is still goodness, still beauty, still glory, still holy. I know that all will be well.
I know because this beauty, this moment, is a sermon, the best kind of sermon for me on many days. It won't be captured by camera for the translation would vandalize the pure blue, the dancing wind, the air that smells of evergreen and sweat. I know all will be well because I spent the morning in the Bible, being reminded that the cross defeated Satan fully, finally, wholly, though we don't yet see the full fruits of that victory. I know because I've studied James today and yesterday and am reminded that we're farmers, planting seeds of hope and purity and justice, even though the harvest isn't instant, and even though things not instant aren't popular in these days when we're angry if our browser takes more than 3 seconds to give us our web demands. I know it... but I know because I'm here.
You're there. And no words, no picture, can let you enter the experience. Truly, you had to be here to know this wind, these trees, this blue. Maybe you even needed to know my friend who died, and to have also studied James. I don't know. But I do know this; I can tell you this much: God breaks through!! He does it in spite of our doubts and failures, and in spite of the poison and ugliness that pollutes everything from the atmosphere to politics to the arts, to our own hearts. God breaks through... and I only wish I you could hear what I hear, see what I see, smell what I smell... right now, right here. Then you'd be encouraged.
But since you're not here... these tiny words are the best I can offer.