Let us not mock God with metaphor

Thursday, May 25, 2023

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Let us not mock God with metaphor

Wednesday morning. 6:50 a.m.

Miss Molina said, “Lay down on your side, close to the edge of the table, and put your arm under this pillow. And I’ll take care of everything else.” Then she did. Forty-seven minutes later all the pictures were taken, the echocardiogram was complete, and today we’ll hear about from Dr. Liu about what she found. Dr. Liu has been our cardiologist since Margaret was in the hospital in 2021. When we see him it feels like old home week.

I know he has presided over deaths, healings, rebirths and maybe a resurrection or two. Those doctors see everything, even though they might not talk about it much. We’re nearing the end of the Easter season, the season of resurrection, and there is still so much to think about, say, and pray about how we follow Jesus into his mystery.

On trial before Sadducees and Pharisees, Paul said, “I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees, and I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

Like Margaret and I, spiritual director and author Judy Cannato was born in 1949. But she died in 2011 from a rare form of cancer. Here’s some of what she had to say

Jesus engaged death with every bit of consciousness and freedom that were his, and what we all discovered as a result is that death – while inevitable, while altering our dreams and causing us to let go of everything – does not have the final word.

There is always – always – resurrection. And when we engage in a lifetime of death and resurrections as Jesus did, we become ever more empowered to do the work God asks us to do.

What does she mean, a “lifetime of death and resurrections as Jesus did?” Well, first of all, every time I fall asleep, and then awake, how about that?  Oh, Lord, open my lips in praise.

Or when I am swept up in despair, someone else’s or my own, but then am held just above water by a mysterious hand. God’s perspective is the long one, and I begin to see things that way too. At the kairos time, new life appears like a bright green shoot – I’m hanging on and catching my breath and looking up to see the sky, and sometimes even laughing to beat the band. Oh Lord, open my lips in praise.

Life and death are a single mystery. We can be sure that dyings will intrude upon our lives, and we may have some choice about how we can respond to their coming.  We can be awake and watchful for the resurrections as well, for the creative ways that new life streams into us.

Many around us don’t ever think about resurrection, and because of this they might mostly not think about death, either. The life I’ve got is all I’ve got, they might say. That reductionism is tempting, but I’m going to say no thank you, and follow Paul.

I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.

John Updike’s famous Easter poem sings this hope loudly, disregarding doubt:

Make no mistake: if he rose at all

It was as His body.

If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,

The amino acids rekindle,

The Church will fall.

This journey, the part here on earth, can take unexpected turns. Paul was sent to Rome to bear witness there. That is where he died. As I learn to be a little quiet inside and hear the still small voice of God, who knows where I’ll be sent, and to whom? There is more than a little excitement in those possibilities, in those whispers, in the tinkling of that tuning fork.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

(Acts 22, Psalm 16, John 17)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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