The Gospel is overheard as much as it is directly preached to persons. Like a beggar who overhears where there is bread, the Gospel is handed out in crust and slices to those who find their way to the servers. We preach the Gospel, sing the Gospel, proclaim it through prayer and meditate on it like an artist meditates on the painting of another artist, searching for clues— and we do that every Sunday. But Monday – Saturday, we practice it in a myriad of kindnesses, mercies, affirmations, and sometimes by bold and prophetic action as we stand beside the weak, the marginal, the bullied, the elderly, the young and all who inhabit the continuum of what we call existence. And along that continuum, as its string of “present” episodes become a string of pearls we call a day or a week, people overhear the Gospel. And there are days, not always, but sometimes there are days when the entire web of existence is a shimmering vibration of light and goodness. To stand in that light! ah. To resonate so that we vibrate in our own goodness! wow. To be part of a community of faith, hope and love! OMG meets ML&MG (my Lord and my God, the confession of Doubting Thomas).
Now what has any of this to do with anything. Simply this: when the center holds, the circle of life revolves and holds. The orbit of our daily existences spins in symmetric harmony. When the center does not hold or there is no center or someone has replaced the Holy One with an idol like a gun or war or hatred then, well, as W. B. Yates said it in his fantastic and alarming herald of a poem, The Second Coming, in that first stanza:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
I ask you, has the blood-dimmed tide been loosed? Indeed, it is praised by the craven and the posers of patriotism. Where are the best among us, ready to serve and to stand? Are not the worst full of passionate intensity? We have seen them in the streets of Charlottesville.
There is a center, however. It holds. We gather ‘round it on Sundays at 10 a.m. over at Jefferson Middle School Auditorium (for now). The Falconer calls.
~See you Sunday