Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rend the Heavens: Advent Day 3

This prompt was originally scheduled for 11/29, but I'm catching up.

Text: Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures. Genesis 9:15b (CEB)

...and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:15b (NRSV)


You can add up the parts 
but you won't have the sum 
You can strike up the march, 
Every heart, every heart 
to love will come 
but like a refugee. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

Anthem- Leonard Cohen

There's a fancy church word for the moment in communion wherein the presider asks God to send the Holy Spirit into the elements: epiclesis. It is in this invocation or calling down that one asks, in front of all gathered, for power of the Holy Spirit to come into the bread and the product of the vine (juice or wine) and to bless them. 

Even though epiclesis is part of my (Lutheran) tradition, it is not something that I think of that often in presiding. There's a fair chance that when I utter the words of institution themselves, I may not
actually ever invoke the epiclesis. This is because I am not sure that God is ever actually apart from what God has made. 

I believe that God is the ultimate farmer- having given blood, sweat, tears, and love to all that has been made. Destruction of any part of creation weighs heavily on the divine memory. In as much as I believe the flood was God's decision to start over (which is to say that I don't really think that), I also think that those who told this story perceived that action was deeply out of character for One in whom all creation exists and moves and lives and has being. 

In truth, I think the fracture- the lifting up and breaking of the bread- is the true epiclesis moment of holy communion. Not any words that I might say, but the moment where there are no words. The moment in which all our eyes are drawn to something that God has created from air and soil and seed and vocation... and which we break. The fracturing is where the light comes in, where the Spirit's power is most visible, where we comprehend that things all apart, but God- and God alone- brings the healing. 

God allows creation the full run of the leash of free will, much to God's regret (in my opinion). But the flood promise, the covenant after the receding waters, says that there are limits to how much destruction God will allow. When we see the fracture in the clouds- the mix of light and mist that creates the rainbow- we remember God's promise. More importantly, God remembers God's promise. God remembers that there is too much, too far, a pain too great- for the Divine to bear. And so never again. 

When we look at the fractured world, do we see and perceive the grief of the Divine being? Are we speaking rotes words, believing we are calling upon the Spirit... when, in truth, the Spirit is always with us- pouring through the cracks in everything, revealing how the Light gets in? 

No comments: