Monday, August 17, 2015

A Maturing Faith: Two Analogies

Image result for public domain image of preparing soup 

Faith is like preparing a soup in the fall, adding all the vegetables that comprehend the dark like dusty potatoes and hairy carrots and papery onions as well as those that kiss the sun like fat red tomatoes and bounding little peas and the swoosh of yellow bean curves.  I crush in dried and fresh herbs, splash in the water that has seeped over centuries into my well, stir with wooden spoon that once nodded and bobbed in the wind as part of a tree. It all flows into my pot and I turn up the heat of life until everything is bouncing and boiling together, and if I am patient, I then let it simmer for a very long time. The moist and savory smell is the very breath of the soup, and my dog’s nose trembles as she reaches up cautiously to the stove.  I have a choice when I serve this beautiful moment in time as a meal.  I can sit it on the table and worship that bowl until time decays everything and dries it all out or I can take it in, mouthful by mouthful, savoring, making it part of me, and understanding that it will also mean a trip to the bathroom to get rid of what will poison this body, mind and spirit. Either way, the bowl of soup will participate in the on-going transformation of all things, including me—how could it not?-- that is the great constant of reality.  Is this not communion?

Faith is also the camera lens I favor, that which frames and clarifies the picture of the world I alone see. This is not selfishness or conceit. Give a thousand people the same camera and lens and have them shoot the same still life and not one picture will be the same.  Discerning each object my eye falls upon, I can also change lenses, from one focused on the microcosm to one taking in wide angles and sweeping vistas.  It is not that reality changes, it is how I see it that is altered and captured and preserved for a moment in time.  I could lay all my pictures out, and say this is reality.  But already the light has shifted, the objects moved, and the “I” who discerned what was beautiful and clear and logical and right cannot be found either. Yet the scene is set anew, flowing on, ripe for creative participation. Is this not grace?

I have spent my life trading in the theology of words, but such things are only camera lenses and soup ingredients.  Who I am God, and who are You?  Come, your meal is ready and afterwards, I will share my pictures with you and we can giggle, our heads inclined to one another.


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