Today is a kind of busy day when my brain is filled with other things; I have a funeral this afternoon for a business colleague and I have a number of writing projects to attend to, including a search for some additional paid work. Momentum on the book is slowed and needs to recover, and I’m thinking about producing a series of meditations and prayers for Advent… will let you know about that If I do it, of course. In the meantime, I’m attempting to extend shalom even when I’m finding a struggle to live in shalom. And today’s food for thought is about Truth, and reminds me of the need for living into what we believe partly as an end in itself, but also as a means of sharing it… you know, “Live your faith. Share your life.” This brings me to a Celtic meditation I’ve snipped from a book:
You cannot grasp water in your hand.
It drops through your fingers.
You cannot grasp truth in your mind.
It drops through your thoughts.
You can only possess water by drinking it,
Taking it it into your body.
You can only possess truth by living it,
Taking it into your heart.
From Robert van de Weyer, Celtic Parables: Stories, Poems, & Prayers, p.28.
It doesn’t seem to relate very directly, but I’m thinking about 2 Samuel 14, where verse 14 uses the image of water to sum up most of what I know about the gospel. In this passage, David is longing for Absalom, who was banished for killing his half-brother Amnon in response to the rape of his sister Tamar. Sometimes people have a hard time understanding (or take comfort from) God’s reference to David as a man “after his own heart” after his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah… usually they reconcile by seeing David as a worshipper-poet who loved God, and this settles it for them. But when I look at the mess that is David’s family and the mess that is God’s family, and see the longing heart of a father even toward children who do deplorable deeds to one another, I can see a parallel.
Seeing David’s longing for his estranged son, Joab sends for a wise woman from Tekoa, dresses her as a widow in mourning, and sends her before David with a story (David seems to respond to stories that explain his own life to him). They enter into a bit of a dialogue wherein David is confronted about his actions toward the son that he loves. The woman says (v.14, NIV),
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
This is pretty much the entire gospel to me. Our lives are water, spilled on the ground, unrecoverable… but God has a way of gathering it up again. This, of course, is truth… and I want deep draughts of it.