Pulling it all Together
...and Walter Brueggemann's book, The Prophetic Imagination, again. In blog 4, I reminded readers the Nurturing the Prophetic Imagination Conference I attended at Point Loma Nazarene University was late during the season of Lent and, as I pointed out when I finally posted the blog about John August Swanson, next Sunday will be The Day of Pentecost, in case an explanation is in order.
Expressing life in-between Friday and Easter as necessarily including "Refusing to be Consoled" was particularly striking related to my own situation of loss that I seem not to be able to explain to anyone and coupled with my sense of needing to experience some Good Grief, the wrenching sorrow that includes regenerative washing with tears and perspective gainable only from ongoing conversation with others who at least sort of "get it." Recently I'd blogged about Brueggemann's insisting a huge amount of our days are sabbatarian, times we spend waiting, almost suspended in the interstitial time between Good Friday afternoon and Easter Sunday dawn. And, of course, that's another liminal, threshold experience, another one that's closely related to baptism.
As again I turned the pages of my copy of The Prophetic Imagination, (it was either the first or second thing by Brueggemann I ever read) the necessity of grief - and, of course, acknowledging that everything is not okay, cities are broken, relationships are fractured, lives are unwhole, the world has crumbled into chaos - that must go ahead of times of grieving jumped off page after page. It hadn't been that obvious to me before; it has to be something about the close relationship between truth and freedom!
Moving a few meters away from my own "place," the constant emphasis on all creation during the conference met me where I live and heartened me immensely.
Someone recently reminded me that the new creation is not pristine, but carries within its very being scars and other reminders of the pain, troubles, devastation and experiences that have brought one to the place of newness and that each of us continues carrying with us, not as unwanted weight but almost as a condition of redemption.
In the conference sessions I attended, they didn't talk much overtly about Divine freedom – or its corollary of God's elusiveness – but the discussion still strongly implied both attributes of God. Like Walter Brueggemann's perspective on scripture, these were no talks about "god sightings" or "god experiences," yet like King Solomon and the Yahwist, each of us longs for a modicum of control over our own destiny and for a god of predictable, programmable behaviors. Scripture, the earlier Church fathers and mothers, the Reformers and a faithful contemporary Church cannot assume miracles, wonders, spectaculars, or petitions to heaven answered in compliance to man formulations or suggestions.
With most of our days on earth being sabbatarian, neither Good Friday afternoon nor Easter Sunday dawn, I'm still waiting and trusting.