His stare is blank and stoic and the subject of his gaze seems to be me, as I, of course, look into my phone and back at him… And either my discomfort or the boy’s unflinching look seems to ask, “So what kind of attention do you pay and to what do you pay it?”
The ancient Job conceded to the whirlwind, “Your wisdom is too great for me, beyond my understanding,” but the modern Job rejects any narrative larger than his own understanding. What to say of a community like ours, in a time like ours, gathered around the celebration of a holy mystery?
God is not done with us yet. We are all vessels of hope, healing, and imagination. In spite of and perhaps because of all our imperfections, God still longs to cradle us and mold us, to lift us up to the beauty of our immortality as nothing less than holy dirt.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it,” is what Hebrews says. Angels. Like those who Abraham welcomed by the Oaks of Mamre, who said Sarah would have a child in her old age. If we’d just drop the self-serving rules we usually use to decide who we’ll let into our lives and who we’ll sit beside at the banquet, an angel might walk in and change everything.
“What it would be like to have a catalog of experiences or songs or images that could trace the development of your faith? The smell of an old church, the pastor’s embrace, the sunburn and cicadas of a week at summer camp: all of them leading you and changing you until you find yourself here.”