Ronna Miller led a small group of us (Molly the wise, Jen the passionate and Paul the great), at MHGS in Advent reflection this morning. Ronna guided our hearts and minds around the theme of “marveling.” It was a thoughtful and surprising time which stirred within me a reflection on the Christian life as a marveling comedy.
God seems to inevitably surprise us with Godself. Just when we think we’ve got God figured out, with our theological systems in place and our interpretative frameworks constructed (somewhat like the Tower of Babel) we find our speech becomes confused, we find ourselves repenting of what we once confessed and searching for a God who is even bigger than we had thought. I find myself humbling myself at the doors of the artists, story tellers, dancers, poets, and music makers hungry and thirsty for fresh images to widen the apertures of my vision of life, God’s reign, creation, and God in Godself.
It should be of no surprise (yet it is) that we, as beings created imago Dei, surprise ourselves. Genuine difference and otherness carries the gift of marveling and wonderment. Yet, all too often in the face of this gift-of-otherness we work to minimize surprise, reduce difference and control outcomes.
Please, if you are a poem, if you are a dance, if you are art, if you are story help expand my vision. I stand in need of fresh images and metaphors of a God engendering marvel. I want to see and I want to hear . . . but find that all too often I settle for fear. Without you I am blind and dead, without you my God is small.
I fear we may we often choose to think of the Christian story as a tragedy – in the Greek sense. And although there is great tragedy in our world the Christian story creation is a comedy. Tragedy does not have the final word. Surprise, marvel, wonder, paradox, astonishment, shock, and longing all signal a desire for a comedic resolution – this is Advent – a resolution where tragedy does not have own the final scene but redemption does.
It feels important to stress that the “final scene” is unlike any final scene that we can conceive of for it is a dénouement in the fullest sense of the word – an ending which truly is a beginning.
Here are a few of the texts that my friend Ronna brought this morning . . . rarely what we expect.
“If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.” Ec 5:8
“And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” Mr 5:20
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Joh 3:7
“For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” Joh 5:20
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,” Joh 5:28
“Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.” Joh 7:21
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye people of , why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Ac 3:12
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2Co 11:14
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” Ga 1:6
“Marvel not, my friends, if the world hate you.” 1Jo 3:13
“And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.” Re 17:7