10 July 2010

Pebbles and ripples

Every kid here in the Midwest probably has the experience of tossing a rock into a mud puddle. Mud puddles are different, unlike water, mud tends to conform to the shape of the objects tossed into them. Give that tendency a few hundred thousand years and you have a fossil. When you toss a rock into a pond on the other hand, you get rings. Rings carry the energy generated by the rock but not its precise shape.

Jesus was God's stone tossed into the pond of humanity. 2000 years on, the ripples continue. The initial shape is rather indistinct. We carry with us the energy generated by the salvation events, the preaching, mission works, execution and judicial murder of Jesus and most importantly we carry the intense energy of the resurrection.

About 450 years ago, Martin Luther, Jon Huss, Thomas Cranmer and others looked at where some of the ripples had taken them and God tossed another stone into the pond: the Reformation. Now the ripples cross each other and the water is choppy.

All along the way the question of what the initial splash looked like, who Jesus was, what He said and meant has been a part of the journey. But we are not a mud puddle. We do not have that image impressed on us. We see as Paul had it, through a glass darkly.

An absolute foundation assertion of Jewish, Islamic and Christian thought is that God is the creator of the universe. We screw that one up, we Christians with the silly argument called creationism. None-the-less all agree that we are creatures of God's creation energy and God's plan.

If we are indeed His creation he knows we form a pond, not a mud puddle. He tossed his rocks into the water expecting the energy to carry us.

Clearly as we radiate out from the events of Jesus, the apostles and the reformers's splashes, we loose some of the image and we are capable, indeed prone to err. But contrary to bible-idolatry and Islam's assertions, God has a supply of stones. God sent the one big stone, Jesus but he has had a lot of gravel handy.

Blessed Martin Luther observed in the preface to the first German language hymnal "One must dare greatly for the love of Christ."

In her Pentecost letter to the church the presiding bishop noted that reading the (infamous) letter and observing the actions of the WWAC Americans saw what we call a "failure of nerve." In our slange we often call it, "copping out." In either case it is the failure to dare greatly for the love of Christ. Rather than celebrating the energy and ripples from God's stones, the archbishop demands mud puddles.

When the rain falls, mud images fade. When the sun shines they bake into fossils. Neither has ripples nor energy.

The church is the ripples of God's stones in the human pond. Fossils belong in museums.



Nij said...

Great post! I will remember this comparison!


JimB said...


I thought it apt but I am saddened by the response -- except for yours.


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