Tuesday, February 28, 2012

...touching places





Into the instant’s bliss never came one soul
Whose soul was not possessed by Christ,
Even in the eons Christ was not.
And still: some who cry the name of Christ
Live more remote from love
Than some who cry to a void they cannot name.
—after Dante
by Christian Wiman, "By Love We Are Led To God", Harvard Divinity Bulletin

Christian Wiman's words are worth a read:
For many people God is simply a gauze applied to the wound of not knowing, when in fact that wound has bled into every part of the world, is bleeding now in a way that is life if we acknowledge it, death if we don’t. Christ is contingency. Christ’s life is right now.
Despite the value and absolute necessity of spiritual solitude, Christ comes alive in the communion between people. When we are alone even joy is, in a way, sorrow’s flower: lovely, necessary, sustaining, but blooming in loneliness, rooted in grief. I’m not sure you can have Christian communion with other people without these moments in which sorrow has opened in you, and for you; and I am pretty certain that without shared social devotion one’s solitary experiences of God wither into a form of withholding, spiritual stinginess, the light of Christ growing ever fainter in the glooms of the self.
What this means is that even if you are socially shy and generally inarticulate about spiritual matters—and I say this as someone who finds casual social interactions often quite difficult and my own feelings about faith intractably mute—you must not swerve from the engagements God offers you. These will occur in the most unlikely places, and with people for whom your first instinct may be aversion. Dietrich Bonheoffer says that Christ is always stronger in our brother’s heart than in our own, which is to say, first, that we depend on others for our faith, and second, that the love of Christ is not something you can ever hoard. Human love catalyzes the love of Christ. And this explains why that love seems at once so forceful and so fugitive, and why, “while we speak of this, and yearn toward it,” as Augustine says, “we barely touch it in a quick shudder of the heart.”

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Wiman's essay and watch a clip from Bill Moyer's interview.

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