03 November 2011

Near

When God packed up and left the country, He left the Torah
with the Jews.  They have been looking for Him ever since,
shouting, "Hey, you forgot something, you forgot,"and other people think shouting is the prayer of the Jews. Since then they've been combing the Bible for hints of His whereabouts, as it says, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near."  But he is far.
Amichai's words, like prophecy, the light of wisdom I see each day.  Don't ask me why but I also see Peter Falk's Columbo in this image, absent-mindedly patting his jacket in search of the elusive object.  Where is it?  I had it here just a minute ago.

That's the image with God as well.  He's not here, but could be; the unfound reality of the Divine makes for an anxious, unnecessary distance between God and man.

And in the midst of our troubled, sometimes fearful searching, we experience the loss of life--and paradoxically insist that this is precisely when God is most present.  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and staff they comfort me, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows."

That Divine You is as often perfectly imperfectly human.  For you, my neighbor and friend, are with me.  For you, my brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son are with me.  Your strength, the tools you employ to gird you against the threat of despair, the food you serve me, the drink you offer to slake my thirst.

I speak truths of God's presence to mourners when there is loss not always certain that God is present as one but rather but in the faces of the people I see, in the pouring out of their grief, in the strength they offer one another.  It's a remarkable thing to see.  People finding something lost, rediscovering, or discovering, as if for the first time.

"See the Eternal source of life while it may be found; call out, be heard, be near."  Not far.  Near.

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