The point is not to be completely happy in a mansion, but to be completely happy in a shack.
A remnant of Jacob is always in the midst of nations like dew on the grass for which no man is responsible. The destruction is what scatters the remnant among the shattered remains. The mountain of Zion rises up above the other mountains and is the new born son after the labor pains, the shepherd from the most unexpected place; these two, the highest and the lowest, two poles on one great magnet, pulling remains hidden within the world out of the world. The Spirit of the mountain and the Spirit of the Shepherd calling like to like. Calling their broken spirits. A few tiny shards of the broken vase begin to tremble like iron filings under the invisible call of this distant magnet. They turn, rising up along the radiating lines of an organizing principle. The remnant turns their eyes to the sun and comes home.
Everyone educated past freshman biology can answer chlorophyll.
But science played a dirty trick— a bit of sophistry. Because whether by experimentation or experience it is proven that chlorophyll and greenness are inextricable, it is impossible by the same experience or experimentation to claim to first graders, post-grads, or great-grandpas that chlorophyll is “why grass is green.”
As if chlorophyll makes grass green. Anything making something else implies a will. I am not arguing for a minute that there is not a will behind grass being green, I am merely stating for eternity that it isn't chlorophyll.
It is just as scientific and certainly more historically accurate—in the sense of one thing causing another—to say green grass made chlorophyll. Some might say it is splitting chromosomes to add that DNA makes chlorophyll. But it is neither DNA nor chlorophyll that is the problem or the answer, it is science's claim of who or what makes what that is the problem. The fact that grass is green, not chlorophyll or martians or envy, asks a question-- a deep question about creation and will rather than the shallow one modern science magically solves with a thin paste of complicated terms. Why is grass short rather than tall as a giant beanstalk?
I am simply trying to point out it, at the risk of growing the metaphor too long, it is more correct to say lawnmowers make grass short than grass DNA does. Because the location of will is properly positioned.
I might as well say that eyes make men see. No they don’t. Eyes and seeing are the same thing. Eyes didn’t come before seeing. They arrived at the exact same time. Man wasn’t made to see by his eyes, but he does see. Why?
The response of the Ninevites to hearing the truth (which is not to be given the correct answer, but rather the correct problem) is to stop consuming. The edict from the king is for everyone in Nineveh, from high to low, including every animal, every flock and herd in the entire kingdom to stop TASTING anything. Umm...that’s quite a thing to command a kingdom much less a single person, yet apparently if I am stuffed full to my ears and constipated in my constant consuming it is a requirement for hearing God and being heard by God. It is as if I must do the impossible (which indeed I must). I must stop consciously consuming experience, in a sense, stop consciously experiencing. And strangely, mysteriously, when there is nothing else to experience—nothing to see or smell or hear or feel or TASTE—experiencing still seems to happen. On its own. It doesn’t need “me” to do it at all. It just is. Which is the same as saying: When I lay face down in the dust with the jaws of my all consuming thoughts shut for once, the only thing left to experience is God.
The miracle is not that these stories kind of resembled my life, it is that they exactly described my life. As if it was made not for some man somewhere but for exactly this man right here. Like opening a dusty old box and finding an oddly shaped suit of clothes with an engraved watch in the front pocket,
Not that an oddly shaped man in some ancient yesterday might have fit in, but that I fit in, and the pocketwatch with today engraved upon its back,
Not that it was unreal and that made it a miracle, but that it was real--and it was exactly its realness that made it miraculous.
Before, it was I who was unreal. It was I who was oddly shaped.
Jesus’ life on earth is Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the whale.
Look at Abel. Why is his face like that: contented and joyful? He does not suffer like I. He can’t.
He hasn’t endured what I have endured. This wrenching pain in his back or this hacking cough in his lungs? Or all these sneering looks in his streets? Of course not.
He doesn’t get these constant gripes in his stomach. He doesn’t get a single bug bite. There is no way. I’m sick of his smiling. There is only one reason he can smile like that: existence favors him and not me. It hands him the easier and better life.
So why—years later—alone, brooding and brooding in my murderous heart, does a question float in from the dark edges of my mind: “How is Abel?”
How is Abel?!
I have just annihilated him with my heart. Again today and again yesterday and again for a thousand years! How should I know? Who cares how he is?! Who cares where he is?! Who cares who he is?! I don’t think about him except only to hate him. Why would you ask me that? What about me? That is the only question to ask! I give! I care! But nobody gives to me! Nobody cares about me!
There is no Abel! He is nothing to me! Leave me alone!
1 John 3:11-12
"For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous."
I both lost my inheritance and
Gained it unjustly.
I both stole the blessing from the firstborn and am the firstborn who squandered his blessing in consumption.
The blessing of eternity, vomited from the father, lands squarely on the thief; the blessing unable to return; unable to flow back inside the father who spake it.
And the squanderer rages in his emptiness and circumnavigates his lostness never straying far from yesterday.
And the thief steals away with his blessing, cursed to never go home. For a thief is always a thief until he is not.
He took everything away from me—all the obstructions, all the accretions, all the cataracts and clothes and scales-- everything but the truth. And revealing it; raising it high enough even for me to see, I finally seeI am hanging naked on a cross. The place I have always been.
The sight explaining so much: explaining the ache in my hands and feet; explaining the stretching rack in my shoulders; explaining the piercing in my chest; explaining the tired collapse of my unbroken bones; explaining the bitter aftertaste of every drink; explaining everything and everything and everything.
And I cry with relief, “It is finished!"
I am ready to go home. I am ready to be free. I am ready to let go of this cursed tree and leap into the air. And if ever again I land, I will land in a new life. I will love this world like Christ. I will walk through the petrified forest of crosses shouldering my own as I go. I will lay my hand on every bloody trunk. I will set up my cross and willingly scale to the top. I will hang there again, yet this time helping thieves see and understand and live. Thank you Father for letting me see the whole world!
"Into your hands I commit my spirit.”