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Miscellany

So it’s been seven weeks since I returned from Spain and the Camino.

And make that almost seven weeks since my last fearful post on here about how to incorporate what I learned/experienced on the Camino into my life here in Chicago.

I’ve realized I don’t have to know what it looks like. I don’t have to know how the story ends. I don’t have to know how the pieces fit in the puzzle. I don’t have to have it all figured out.

When I was walking across the meseta in central Spain, wheat fields meandering towards the horizons on both sides as I crawled under an azure dome pocked by clouds that were few and far between, I didn’t need to know where I was staying that night. I didn’t need to know where I would sleep tomorrow. I would be ok. Everything’s gonna be alright

—–

There are days I am nigh overwhelmed by the brokenness in the world.  There are refugee crises, and sickness, and violence.  The weight is huge.  And I am reminded of it daily as I sit in the pain and fear of the boys and girls who I work with have fled violence, destruction, and death.  I sit in it now.  And it is heavy.

We kick at the darkness, and hope that one day it will bleed daylight…  But we keep kicking.  One starfish at a time.  And we keep jumping, even if we’re not entirely sure how deep the water will be…

https://bmiller.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/bleeding-daylight/

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And sometimes when the darkness draws in close, it doesn’t take all that much to drive it back.  Sushi and an old Rasputin.  Friend talks and laughter.  Music and poetry.  And reminders of truth and beauty from Richard Capon as he plays with language and metaphor, meaning and mystery:

Might it not be, then, that it is by bearing for love the uncertainty of what we are to do that we come closest to his (God’s) deepest will for us?  In our fuss to succeed, to get a good grade on the series of tests we think he has proposed, we miss the main point of the affair: that we already are the beloved.  We long ago wound God’s clock for good…

It is our thirst for success and our fear of the freedom which he wills for us that keep us the poor lovers we are.  If the cross teaches us anything, it should be that the cup doesn’t pass from us, and that agony, bloody sweat, and the pain of being forsaken on a dark afternoon are the true marks of having said, Thy Will Be Done.  He is no less lost in this affair than we are.  What really matters for us both, though, is not the lostness, not the doubt, not the fragile, mortgaged substance of our house – only the love as strong as death which has set us as a seal upon each other’s hearts.

This is me learning to show up.  This is me, embracing love.  This is me, realizing that its ok to give up on my quest for certainty, for answers, for control.  What you find in the process is life – and life to the full.  This is me embracing the questions.

It feels good to be back…

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On the Mystery…


…Salvation as a gift given, not a bargain struck.  A father who does not trade forgiveness for good behavior, but who kisses the prodigal son before he gets his confession out of his mouth.  A vineyard owner who pays what he pleases, not what the laborers earn.  A shepherd who allows no sensible business considerations to keep him from leaving ninety-nine sheep in jeopardy to bring one to safety.  A wheat grower who runs his farm, not for profit, but for the sake of letting everything grow as it pleases till the end.  An Incarnate Word who won’t talk to Pilate; a Carpenter of Nazareth who saves the world by nailing down his own hands; a Risen Lord who runs everything by going away.  A God, in other words, who does all things well by doing practically nothing right, whose wisdom is foolishness, whose strength is weakness – who runs this whole operation by being no operator at all and who makes no deals because, in the high Mystery of his being, he’s got it made already…

…We call Christ’s dying and rising the Paschal Mystery, the Passover Mystery.  But seen in the light of a non-transactional view, this isn’t just typology anymore.  It’s a flat assertion that the Passover and the Resurrection are, beneath the surface, the same thing.  You don’t have to work up some system for getting the Israelites in the wilderness in touch with Christ: They already were, long before Jesus turned up on the scene.  And so were Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  And so, to take it all the way, is everybody and everything that is.

Christ wins in every triumph and loses in every loss.  Christ dies when a chicken dies, and rises when an egg hatches.  He lies slain in the wreckage of all Aprils.  He weeps in the ruins of all springs.  This strange, savage, gorgeous world is the way it is because, incomprehensibly, that is his style.  The Gospel of the Incarnation is preached, not so that we can tell men that the world now means something it didn’t mean before, but so that they may finally learn what it has been about all along.  We proclaim Christ crucified, the formless, uncomely Rood Out Of A Dry Ground, in order to show men, at the undesired roots of their own being, the Incarnate Word who is already there, making Jerusalem to flourish.  We do not bring Jesus to people or people to Jesus.  We preach the Word who sends their roots rain, whether they hear or whether they forbear.

And so at last, the theological Rube Goldberg contraptions go into the trash can.  At Auschwitz and  Buchenwald, the Jews died in Christ and Christ in them.  No limbos.  No bookkeeping.  If the church never got around to them – or if it did, but put them off with rotten manners – Christ still draws all men to himself.  He descends into every hell.  The Incarnate Word preaches on all days, to all spirits, in all prisons.  The Good Shepherd has other sheep, and he flatly refuses to lose a single one.

Robert Farrar Capon ~ Hunting the Divine Fox

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