Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Story

It all started while I was driving over to the seminary at the same time as I was thinking about last night's full moon.  I was thinking about the full moon because last night was Halloween, and because our dog was engaging in weird unexplained behavior.  She was digging underneath our back gate, and actually pushed through a fence slat and escaped for awhile, running up and down the streets until the food bowl called her back.  "Perhaps it was the full moon," I mused, and I remembered that it was Halloween as well, and that Halloween was an ancient pagan festival reported to be a "thin place" -- that was why it became "All Hallow's Eve"  - the night before All Saints Day.

So I was thinking about thin places (and I was still driving, and, amazingly, I had not unintentionally gotten off on a wrong street), and I was wondering about them, and I had this thought:

Because of the Incarnation, any place can be a "thin place" -- a place where the veil between heaven and earth becomes sheer.

I thought about this for a moment, the truth of the Incarnation for me -- God taking flesh and walking among us, not just appearing to be human, but being born, having hands, touching lepers, having aching feet.  And I thought, again, well, it's not the Incarnation, really.  Just that one event doesn't mean that much.  The Incarnation, even if it's real, is just a moment in time, just thirty-three years.  

But it's the whole story, starting from the beginning of time and ending when God will fill all the world with glory.  In the middle is the Incarnation -- God walking around in Jesus' skin, and the healings and the sayings and the agony of the cross.  In the middle is Jesus rising, and an incarnation in each disciple on that day called Pentecost.  It is all of these events that make me believe that any place can be a 'thin place', and any person can shine holy, and the veil between heaven and earth can tear at any time

The story is the truth and the truth is the story --  reality is not a set of propositions, but a story, and the story is the truth.  Reality isn't a transaction or a set of math problem or a series of facts, but a story, with a beginning, and a middle and an end.  (but we have not reached the end yet)

In this day and age it may seem amazingly foolish to believe that there is a story that gives shape and meaning to our lives, that there is something more than just the random and haphazard array of experiences, and that even the briefest of moments (like driving down the street and seeing the full moon) can be thin places where the veil between heaven and earth becomes sheer.  

The truth is the story, and the reality is that heaven and earth do meet, and God touches the lepers, and there is a beginning and a middle and an end (but we have not reached the end yet).