Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cosmos, Providence, and a Liturgical Rabbit Hole (Easter Stories By LeBlanc)

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Isn't it fascinating how when Lenten slash Easter season rolls around, Creation seems completely aware of it?

Some people wave off the odd or providential things in life as "the universe orchestrating this or that" or "God at work in doing this or that." Lately though, I'm inclined to wonder if it falls somewhere squarely (or not so squarely) between the two. Perhaps the invisible pulse of life that keeps planets spinning and star dust winking and the glory and repose of seasons in motion and people breathing... perhaps it's just remembering and giving glory where glory's due.

We're in the midst of a massive sell-and-move, so the things we usually do around this time of year haven't happened. None of the usual stack of seasonal books, no reflective Lent, no big celebratory plans for Easter. Yet somehow, we haven't missed any of it. While we've been distracted in the journey at hand, every bump, bend, and stretch in the road has manifested and proclaimed the season anyway.

I admit, this isn't something I picked up on right away. It was somewhere in the middle of painting baseboards and packing boxes, when I forced myself to stop and pick up Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season that I finally started to glimpse glory. With the girls amusing themselves in a fort of pillows and the house lying somewhere between show house and old house, that "squarely in the middle" place opened up and sucked me in.

There, I walked with a rag man who took the rags of all he met in exchange for his goods and his wholeness.
I listened to Tolstoy speak in low tones of two old friends who share an old vow of pilgrimage together, part at a crossroads - this way to walk the literal steps of Jesus, that way to take up the cross and follow in faith.
I watched both a justice of the peace lose his reputation (and likely his job) due to an act of love toward a people despairing, and children place their threadbare belongings on the alter of hope to see them return as more than enough.
I was knocked over by the entrance of Rachoff: "Reader, behold your hand. . . . It can bless or curse. It can draw blood or bind a wound. . . It can weld an iron bridge or caress a child's head. It posseses power to both harm and heal." 

I'm falling down a rabbit hole here. I suppose what I'm getting at is that squarely between the immortal greatness of God and mortal creation is something we forget. Something that brainy people theorize, artists seem to know, and so many great stories and legends like those in Easter Stories whisper: The universe is singing. Been singing from the beginning, in fact, and all life seems to dance to the song.

Fascinating, isn't it? That the order and motion of the universe doesn't just participate in liturgical praise of the the Creator, it is liturgy. But it's not a fantastical idea either, possibly because it's so obviously true? Even when our mouths fail to worship, the pulse and breath of life itself carries on anyway - the rocks cry out and the heavens declare and all that.

Long past tossing the book back into my [ahem, untouched] stack and moving along with the business at hand, I've been equally comforted and challenged by this reflection. Only the true God could orchestrate such majestic mystery as the dry bones of our days rising up to rattle praise -

"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"


Strictly The Details (for people who like that sort of thing):

What it's called - Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Easter Season (Compiled by Miriam LeBlanc) 

What it is -  A collection of 20-something short stories and legends that provoke a sense of longing and wonder toward the Easter truths.

Why it's worth the time and money - Partially literary merit and partially soul enrichment. These are authors with ability to plumb the depths, so to speak. We're talking Oscar Wilde, Tolstoy, the Brothers Grimm, C.S. Lewis, Elizabeth Goudge. . . . it's a great collection.