THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
My heartfelt thanks to all who DON’T link to video of today’s bombing in Boston. (Why would I want to watch the evil happen? Isn’t watching the video like answering “yes” to the terrorist’s invitation?)
Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity; as Paul says, you are still in your sins. We shouldn’t allow the secular world, with its schedules and habits and parareligious events, its cute Easter bunnies, to blow us off course. This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out.
From the sermons of Joel Osteen to the epiphanies of “Eat, Pray, Love,” our spiritual oracles still urge us to seek the supernatural, the numinous, the divine. They just dismiss the idea that the divine could possibly want anything for us except for what we already want for ourselves.
So go ahead, join the Eucharistic feast of God. Go to church. Preferably one where you’re not being told you’re going to hell — even if you deserve it — and preferably one that doesn’t sing the national anthem at the offertory or demonize Palestinians in a premillennialist sweep. Go to church where God is celebrated as the creator and lord of life, where the good news of God’s overflowing love permeates the congregation’s understanding of itself and the world. It does not matter whether the preacher is a liberal or an evangelical, a Protestant or a Catholic, an orator or a rock-and-roller, educated or uneducated, as long as hearts and minds are opened to the peace that passes all understanding. Go to church and let the beloved world of God slowly transform your life in compassion, mercy, and grace.