oh, but to have glimpses.

September 12, 2007

recently i have picked [back] up a daily reflection guide by madeleine l’engle. i started going through it last week and was reminded of the fact i had yet to read any of her other works. the other day as i scanned the news at a certain news site i noticed she had died. here are 2 entries that i really, really enjoyed and found somewhat timely in light of her recent passing.


What is our part in keeping this planet alive? Working toward stopping the folly and horror of atomic devastation? To say that nuclear war is inevitable is defeatism, not realism. As long as there is anybody to care, to pray, to turn to God, to be willing to be el’s messenger even in unexpected ways, there is still hope.

How can we have a wide view of the unity of the universe and of God without lapsing into a vague pantheism? If God created all of Creation, if God is the author of Buddhists and Hindus and Jains as well as those who have “accepted Jesus Christ as Lord,” how can we avoid a wishy-washy permissiveness?

Not be retreating back into a closed system. Not by saying: Only those who believe exactly as I do can be saved. Not by insisting that only those whose gods fit into the same box as my God will go to heaven. Not by returning to polytheism and proclaiming that our god is greater than the gods of other cultures.

Paradoxically, it comes back to us, to our acceptance of ourselves as created by God, and loved by God, no matter how far we have fallen from God’s image in us. It is not a self-satisfied, self-indulgent acceptance, but a humble, holy, and wondrous one.


In the Bible, heaven is described metaphorically, not literally. We are given some hints and clues, but it remains for us a realm of mystery.

When my father died when I was seventeen, I pondered heaven and God’s plan for el’s complex and contradictory children, and it seemed to me to be evident that nobody i knew, certainly including myself, was ready for heaven after this mortal life in which we are all, in one way or another, bent and broken. There may be a handful of people who are prepared for the unveiled vision of God. But most of us are not, most of us still have a vast amount to learn. I don’t know how God plans to teach me all that I need to know before I am ready for the Glory, but my faith is based on the belief that I don’t have to know. I have to know only that the Maker is not going to abandon me when I die; is not going to make creatures who are able to ask questions which simply cannot be answered in this life, and then drop them with the questions still unanswered.


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