Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Excerpt from Sailing Between the Stars

Everywhere you look in Christianity you see mysteries piled upon mysteries.

Here, death is the beginning of life, foolishness is the pathway to wisdom, the meek conquer the strong, a lamb tramples a snake, and the Almighty creator of the galaxies has a bellybutton. The foundation of this faith is paradox, not common sense.

Because logic can only take you as far as the confines of language and reason, but paradox can lead you all the way to the truth.

This is the story that bookends the ages. One day the garden with the snake who infects souls will be transformed into the garden where the Dove reigns forever. Here is a tale bigger than life, but just the right size to fit in your heart.

In the crazy world of Christianity, those who think themselves wise are really fools in disguise, while those who know they’re fools become our greatest prophets and teachers. Those who are the most aware of their sins are our greatest saints; while those who think they’re not really all that bad (at least not compared to most people) are the greatest sinners. Those who think they’re humble are proud, but those who know they’re proud are humble. Those who believe themselves to be free are the most enchained; those who see their chains are finally free.

As long as I think I can see, I’m blind. And only when I’m brave enough to admit that
I’m beyond all hope, does hope come crashing in and cleanse my heart.
We’re told to set our eyes on what we cannot see, accept a peace that’s beyond understanding, know a love that surpasses knowledge, and cling to the certainty of what we cannot prove. One day when my mind was spinning with all these paradoxes of faith, I prayed this prayer:

o elegant mystery,
creator of time,
revealer of history,
tune of the chime,
echo and swirl and curl through
my mind.
here i am waiting to be found
and to find.
seeker and shepherd,
blossom of laws,
lion of conquest sharpen your claws,
here i am waiting,
a child of your light;
no more debating
with my soul in the night.
circle and stir and renew my soul
o elegant mystery
splinter me whole.

To be splintered into wholeness is the goal of the Jesus-focused life.

2 comments:

TAMI said...

More than one of my sermons has included "an excerpt from Sailing Between the Stars"!!

Dawn said...

Thank you for your spectacular prose and poetry!! You are a wordcrafter of the highest degree. I picked up this book on the clearance rack (cringe, shudder) and thought that it would be something that I could read in a day or two - something to fill the gap between other books.... Was I ever wrong!!!! I pick up the book, read a few pages, then have to chew on it, meditate on it and digest it before I can read more. I have purchased 6 more copies since that first one, and I can't keep them in my hands. One went to my aunt, who was visiting my parents while I was visiting. Two went to patients in the hospital where I work (don't know why I gave them, but I do know led me to give them! Two went to my two childrn. I am currently looking to buy about 10 more copies - and I'm not even half the way through! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (and by the way, the sign of a really good book is that it doesn't grow dusty on a shelf - it's dog-eared by being read by so many people!)