Every Sunday people make their way to church hoping something will happen, some encounter with the holy will take place. They ache for a moment when the stuff of the deeper truth of the world surfaces. They watch, with a slight holding of breath even, seeking to experience something within the patterns of the day that reveals, pulls back the curtain.
In ancient times, people spoke of thin places, times and locations when the physical and spiritual world grew close to touch. This week is that for me. This is when the tangible and the conceptual and the spiritual and the emotional converge like Van Gogh’s paintbrush. This is when the colors of the week’s events I see are mixed by Parrish but the lighting is focused by Rembrandt. The breath I breathe feels like constant prayer. And while I probably seem like I have something else on my mind to others, the truth is that I feel more attuned to what is going on. I’m paying attention more than usual.
“God’s grace is the most incredible and insurmountable truth ever to be revealed to the human heart…” wrote John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress). This is the time when I feel closest to reality. It’s like nothing is too far away or isn’t included. God is very present and it is because of the humanity of Jesus.
I find the hope of the world in Jesus because I find the presence of God in him. Every expression of doubt or challenge that I am offered or find growing within myself, continues to be confronted by the act of grace and love in his sacrifice and the proof found in the resurrection. I cannot account for the change in myself or the promises I find fulfilled in life outside of his work, teaching and life.
Many years ago I sat in a diner with a friend who said to me, “I bet you’re the kind of person who believes that there is something in everyone, something they have to offer.” I agreed. He went on to ask, “But, what about the person who has nothing, who brings nothing because there is nothing inside them?” I said, “Everyone has something.”
Having spent time talking with coke-addicted prostitutes, impoverished and self-centered welfare recipients, entitled and wealthy and thoughtless teenagers, hard-working practical atheists, faithless priests, simple believers, sexually consumed child abusers, exhausted fathers and mothers just trying to do their jobs, those who admit no pain nor connection with others and those who can’t get enough of others… I still find the same thing. Everyone has something.
The worth I discovered in my own soul and find now in others’ souls stepped up from the empty tomb. This week of Jesus’ was given over to making that worth fully realized and I find that tangible expression of love insurmountable. This is the week I touch holy.