Today I had lunch with a friend from my theatre wannabe days. She is a professional Stage Manager, and I love to see her when she is home in City By the Sea. First, she’s fun and funny. Second, she likes to cook!
Last night I wasn’t sure we would be able to keep our lunch date, as a heavy snow was predicted and there was the possibility of a snow day for the children. But the heavy precipitation never materialized. I arrived in a light snow to the smell of potato-and-leek soup, which was accompanied by delicious salad and bread, then followed by a brownie with a little coffee ice cream and a cup of good coffee.
It’s good to feel cared for when you spend most of your time caring for others.
And just to confirm the sense of being in the right place at the right time, I found the following quote taped to her bathroom mirror:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Sometimes it’s hard being a Christian pastor married to someone who doesn’t believe in God. Most days I take a long and cosmic view. For some reason we were called into each other’s lives. Pure Luck is as dedicated a seeker as I have ever known. And I understand, although I do not agree with, his conclusions about God.
But last night, he was watching a movie, The God Who Wasn’t There For some reason, it really bothered me to see the DVD playing on his computer. It took until today to realize that what bothers me is not our disagreement but the notion of certitude on either side of the argument.
You see, I don’t know where God is, or what God looks like. I seek a God located everywhere and nowhere. I serve a God located deep inside me, yet farther away than I can ever imagine. I love a God who knows my name, but whose name I cannot really know.
I resist the idea that anyone can disprove God by failing to find evidence of the historical Jesus.
We may have some in the future. We may “live along some distant day into the answer.”
In the middle of the night, my ear sharply painful and my heart sorely troubled, I sat up with a hot bunny pack on my head and read some blogs. I found these words at A Church for Starving Artists:
Call me stupid or naive or even Not Really Christian. But I don’t believe it’s a fantasy to expect Christians to love those with whom we disagree. Really love them. It’s the only way we’ll get past the Big Issues.
When I reacted to the DVD, I was forgetting to love. For that, I am sorry, not only to Pure Luck (who knows it already), but also to God. I’m not doing a very good job of representing when I forget to love. And I really do love the questions themselves, most of the time. That’s what separates us in churches and denominations, a lack of love for the questions, a lack of living the questions.
In the lectionary passage this week, I’m most interested in this:
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:21-22, NRSV)
What did that authority sound like? Wasn’t Jesus forever raising questions and leaving us to puzzle out the answers?
I believe he was.