Friday, September 19, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 9-19-08

Jesus said, "Lift the stone and you will find me there. Split the piece of wood and I am there."

Gospel of Thomas 30.3-4

For photo and MORE GO HERE
Photo by Nathan Lindstrom for the Houston Chronicle
A downed live oak tree rests on gravestones at Glenwood Cemetery on Washington Ave. Sept. 18, 2008.


Roadscholar said...

Nice picture, and very apt quote to associate with it. A stone cross is laying on the ground, and a hollow tree has been split open and toppled. So how does God speak to us, and how do we ‘open our eyes to see’ and ‘open our ears to hear’? Well, “Lift the stone and you will find me there. Split the piece of wood and I am there.” It is precisely through symbols such as these that God speaks, and my brand of faith has me looking closely and listening carefully to a picture such as this. To me, symbols and signs (i.e., words and images) are God’s children, even as it is written, “Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty,” (Isaiah 8:18 NIV) and “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” (Psalms 8:2 and Matthew 21:16)

So what might God presently be trying to tell us, given this picture that has caught our attention, and this apocryphote that has been brought to our remembrance? Well, humor me, if you find that possible. An ancient oak (Christianity,) its core rotted away and lost by time, has been toppled by a great wind. Falling, it struck the stone cross and toppled it to the ground, where it lies face down. The dead, still lifeless in their graves, still did not rise, and took no notice. How could the core of Christianity die, when the outer rings are still living? Because the living, being asleep, have forgotten everything, and do not recognize the symbols and signs. Over the severed tree trunk, an angel is newly revealed, weeping in despair over a quiet grave. (Blow up picture.) Only one angel, to ‘lift’ such a heavy stone? Is the Lord under there? Is he ‘in the split wood,’ if we will but look and listen?

Okay, so I’m just making this stuff up as I go. But then, what’s wrong with that? For my whole point is, did God only speak to us in the past, or is he trying to speak to us now, every day and in every moment? “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, “Yes, I knew of them.” You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open.” -- Isaiah 48:6-8

lightseeker said...

Great post, Roadscholar.

It is comforting to know, truly, that God can be found even among the splintered wood and toppled stone amid what appears to us in this moment (really just a blink in eternity) to be a horrendous disaster. For what can come from disaster? Growth and change.

When we and/or nature refuse to change (stagnate and decay, such as the dead or dying tree and cold, lifeless graves and headstones), God, through his creation (nature), moves to bring change. God is cleaning house, clearing out the old, stagnating, crumbling, dying and dead to allow for new creation, life and growth. If we do not take the initiative to go gently and change and grow on our own, God will give us a swift kick in the pants to make us change for our own good, even if, as little children, we are not yet wise enough see that.

The old and timeworn always make way for the new, and hopefully better. It's said the only thing of which we can be certain will never change is change itself.

After the devastation, God creates anew - through nature, or through mankind. Either the land will renew itself and revert back to an ideal state of balance (always in flux), or man will create a new environment. If we choose not to let nature reclaim the land, then it is up to us to make a wise choice and create an environment that is better than the old.

The key is in how we define better. Do we create as we did in the past from a small, selfish point of view, or do we create in collaboration with God's broad, inclusive viewpoint and desire for balance within his creation? The residents of the coastal areas of Texas - especially Galveston Island, a barrier island - have some tough questions to ask themselves and decisions to make. Will they rebuild the island as it was (looking back at the past; “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” —Luke 9:62), or do they look forward and create something new that is more in harmony with the ebb and flow of the sea and nature?

When we open our spiritual eyes to perceive the Spirit of God in all of creation, we learn not to dominate, but to become co-creators with God. That is the free will God gave us - the free will to choose. We can choose to align with self and work for ourselves, or we can align with God/Spirit and work *with* God. When we align our dream for the future with God's, then we allow Spirit to work through us as we create from out of the detritus of disaster a new life and world that has the highest good of all God's creatures and creation.

The Five for Fighting song, "World" contain the lyrics, "What kind of world do you want? Think anything... Be careful what you wish for. History starts now."

Dream big, dream God's dream for us, within and as part of his creation. Now go create a great new life and a great new world!

This too shall pass. Peace and hope to all.

Roadscholar said...

Thanks Lightseeker. I just always try to keep a lookout for symbolism in my environment, be aware of what scriptures it brings to my remembrance, and then interpret what it means to ME. Two scriptures which well describe this interpretive process are "He was in the world, and . . . the world did not recognize him," (John 1:10) and "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)