Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Three Word Wednesday: Sanctity of {Every} Life

For Three Word Wednesday, Kristin Hill Taylor offers a challenging Sanctity of {every} life.

3 word wednesday sanctity of life

Sanctity derives from the Latin word for holy, "sanctus." We consider thrice-holiness – "sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" as we sing during the liturgy – an attribute of God, yet in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit we humans also strive for sanctification (deification, theosis in some theological traditions) as our attitudes, behaviors, our entire beings gradually align more with the Savior's. In addition, sanctity of life has become an unfortunate political and religious buzzword, a catchphrase that instantly conjures up petitions, boycotts, marches for the unborn, those who are dying, capital punishment, women's rights... I won't go there. I'm not qualified to go there. A few years back on either Confessing Christ or in one of the United Church of Christ online discussions, someone pointed out "the Roman branch of the Church has a body of moral theology that makes what we do [mainline and other assorted protestants] look trivial."

Besides, numerically there are very few humans on earth today who don't perceive value in future possibilities of a fetus still in the womb, who have an easy-going attitude about even very early pregnancy termination, sorrow that some with end-stage ravages of a serious disease don't, won't, or legally/ethically can't die sooner—whether they consider death a gift of God leading to fullness of life or simply the end of earthbound existence. Most sentient humans assign some intrinsic worth to all critters of every description; it would be tough to find those who don't realize the valuable interconnectedness of all creation.

Given my lack of qualifications and also my disinterest in pursuing heavyweight theological, medical, scientific, and ethical concerns, I'll say a little about Kristin's wonderful blog description and purpose, "Seeking God as the author of every story."

Scripture and our own experiences remind us how God's presence often is hidden and concealed—at least while a story if unfolding or in the thick of an event. In the book of Exodus we find a locus classicus for God's hiddenness:
Exodus 33

18Moses said, "Show me your glory, I pray." 19And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, 'The Lord'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live." 21And the Lord continued, "See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen."
As Christians we recognize that God writes or "authors" all of our stories. Some of the excitement of blog- and journal-writing and photography is making those stories come alive again for ourselves, and making them real for an audience. Narrating our own histories helps us discern where God was when something occurred, what God might have been leading up to at another time. Countless times I've glanced backwards remembering how at the time I'd no clue God or any good was part of a situation, yet in retrospect I can assemble the pieces and put together a timeline that reveals God's presence and faithfulness, and many times even my own obedience. My patience, too? No comment on that one.

And I'll say a little about the button I designed for this post. The background acrylic painting of posies has seen a whole lot (how many items in a lot? What does it take to make a whole one?) of my many lives. They first came to life when I designed some nature patterns to help illustrate concepts in a color theory class; originally I did up these flowers in three different colorways. That was way back when only geeks were particularly digitized, but what I learned in that class made it one of the half-dozen most useful school experiences ever, so I kept the two binders of course material for reference and finally scanned and photoshopped my example drawings. I use versions of this flowery nosegay for posts I've tagged "Life Stuff" and "Telling the Story," so why not another version for this post about life and its stuff?

Kristin says "Seeking God as the author." To seek is a looking for, looking into, inquiring after. Looking into, re-calling, invoking is exactly what we do when we read others' stories and when we relate our own. Every story of every individual and every family has sanctity, is a holy one; God authored it! But often we need to seek, peer deeply, wonder intensely and wait for God's own revelation about his presence. Notice I wrote the words of my button for today's post in burnout so you need to look more closely and carefully to read what it says than if the letters popped out at you as conventional dark against light or light against dark? Something of a metaphor for God's frequently hard to find presence!

Have you started writing and telling the world about the sanctity of your own life and your family's lives? Where is God in the mix and in the sometime mess?

3 word wednesday button

1 comment:

Gayl Wright said...

First of all I love the button you made! And, yes, God's presence is sometimes hard to discern but is there nonetheless. Sometimes we have to look harder, but I think that helps us remember that we can't do things on our own very well. We need His presence to help us and show us the way. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #ThreeWordWednesday.