Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lightning and Thunder

It's raining outside. Actually, it's pouring. Lightning keeps flashing across the sky. BIG lightning. Lots of thunder. The windows just shook. Our guinea pig Penny is cowering in her house (though, to be fair, she always does that). I'm going to have to rethink what I'm wearing to church.

I'm so happy it's raining. And lightning-ing. And thundering.

Another one strikes. The room lights up. The lights flicker. Windows shake; the air booms like a rolling drum; car alarms go crazy.

We have no power against the storm. We take shelter, we hide under umbrellas and in homes, we close our windows against the wind, we drink hot drinks and pull out the candles just in case. But we can't do anything about it. It toys with our electronics and our transportation systems like they're nothing. Nothing at all. A big storm just goes through, ignorant of us, unheeding. Its power is so much bigger than us. It makes us feel inconsequential, oh so small.

This is who we are. Have we forgotten? We are tiny on the face of this big green earth. Seven billion of us live here now. Seven billion. I know a handful of those--not even--and yet still I can look out the window and see clear, open fields stretching for miles. Seven billion people fit on this planet, and still have room to breathe? It's so much bigger than I am.

We're so tiny. So not in control. There's something beautiful in that, too, something beautiful about surrendering to the fact of the storm and letting it do its thing without worrying because, truly, worry isn't going to get you anywhere. So we trust and hope because that's what we do, and when it eventually blows over, we come out of our holes and wipe our cars off and move on with life.

We can't really cope with raw power like that. I mean, we can. We do. We move on and keep living. But it's that very fact that betrays us. We don't know how to react, to interact, to be near it or touch it. It's on a totally different plane. Up there, sparkling and flashing. Being loud and obnoxious and speaking in a foreign tongue. Oh, sure, we can measure it. But we cannot control it, manipulate it, or understand it at all.

Just like God.

We're so small we don't know what to do when power is around. We don't know how to handle it. When there's nothing we can do...we don't do anything, and "keep calm and carry on," albeit with less style than the British.

People wonder why God lets bad things happen. I'm not dissing it. I ask that question too. I think I've found an answer, but it's so hard to articulate. Mostly because I don't understand God: he exists on a lot more dimensions than I, or really, is outside of them, outside of time, looking in on me, on us, on his little creation: the universe. That's something I don't understand. Would you believe in a God who felt human emotions and did human-y things? No, God is supposed to be big. That's the point. Any idea of the Absolute or a "greater something"--it's all about God, and God is supposed to be out there, big, understanding things, controlling things, and in charge of justice and light and love and the good stuff. He's supposed to make the good side win. And yet when bad things happen, we redefine "the good side," or think that he's not wise enough, somehow, as if my view of things is the only view. The absolute view. As if I know where the storm is supposed to go, or why it's here.

I don't know.

But the point is, we need a God who can both be all that, high above and bigger and apart, and one that can be close, personal, catering to our emotional needs. We're human. We ache. We need someone to come touch our wounds and live with us. We need a relationship.

How can you have a relationship with a storm? Too much power. Too much light. Too much that I don't understand. The rules, the laws that govern it--I don't understand them, not even scientists do. We have come so far and yet we are only just at the beginning of discovering how our universe works. All these things operate based on a book I haven't read. How can I think of joining the conversation when I can't even know the language?

He's up there, writing the story, like the storm tracing its paths across our skies, leaving its impact on our lives.

But he's also down here, next to us, living and breathing and walking around. He became a character; the storm became a whisper. We caught and touched it. No human can be God. But this God was human. He died and then came back to life. Most humans I know can't do that.

This God is a character in the story, living it out alongside of us. The author wrote himself in, submitted himself to the restrictions of the page. So that he can interact with the characters. He's right here.

That's what Easter is about.


Happy Easter, everyone.

"He is risen!"
"He is risen indeed!"