Tuesday, May 08, 2007

God All in My Face

We have Mass every morning at Malvern Prep. Last week, because of a spring concert and the need to set things up in chapel, Fr. Steve had to make a makeshift altar and bring it down in front of the first row of pews. Now I usually sit in the front row for Mass to get up and read, so when the altar came down, my entire field of vision was filled up with the sacred stuff of the Lord's Supper; the linen cloth, chalice, candles, the paten with the host on it, the hands of Fr. Steve moving over the wine and the water and the bread at the moment of consecration. I could almost reach out and touch the altar if I tried. God was all in my face. This was a little overwhelming; I was drawn in, captured. There was no escape and no chance for distraction. When God is all in your face, you have to look at Him. And when I looked I didn't see a big scary Overlord coming to dominate me or show commandments down my throat. I saw a God Who became little, to liberate me and give me the dominion over my weakness that I desperately need. He's so tiny that He can fit inside me and fix me from the inside out. This experience got me thinking about the way God works. God loves stuff. He loves the material world, His first gift and testament to us. And even though we've scribbled all over it and torn out some of the pages, He still sends us love letters through this book. He comes to us through the things He's made; bread and oil and water and wine. He's redeemed us with their help, especially in the physical sign and reality of Jesus' very flesh and blood! So it strikes me that God doesn't want to remain forever distant from us, "out there" past Orion or lodged merely as a thought in the cerebral cortex of men and women. He wants to get into our blood, get under our skin, and He firgured out how to do it in the Eucharist that I was only 5 feet away from last week. Isn't this nuts? Isn't He crazy about us? That's the only explanation for me that works. He's not the dominating Judge with a beard beaming white and flowing robes pointing a gabel at me. He's a God Who's become so small just for the love of me. I want to encourage everyone reading this to try letting Him in even more. Open up. Come closer to the altar, that place of fire and healing. I've discovered there's no other way to be cured of my arrogance, pride, fear, doubt, guilt than to let Him in. He's the cure, the antidote for all the poisons we've taken into our bodies and souls, knowingly or unknowingly. And He's not going to yell at us for being so foolish. All He wants to do is set things right again.
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