Outside the University, Outside the Church: Finding the Truth of God
November 30, 2006
A Reading from the Letter to the Immoral
December 6, 2006

Crosses fading gold to gray, the somber hymn conducting his head downward. The lights, crowned in gilded candelabra from altar to pew, suddenly flickered and became dull. The whole space of God, its christened icons, the pious faces paused in prayer, all dissolved to blackness.

For what is God without love?

And he muttered with shut eyes a few desolate words that some would call devotion. Inside the threshold of God, the many-lauded temples that stand through the violence outside its walls, certain faithful men gathered. Their foreheads were wet with holy water, their eyes bent in deference to the suffering cross. And they would weave, the cantors of virgin white, a space of interior purity in notes. Nothing certain but in these seldom moments, nothing stronger and more sure than in breathing the spirit of whatever divinity is—

But sure as sometimes days arise and fall away again, with pulsing goodness waning in old age, this misplaced sadness infected holiness. So frank in death, so vulnerable in loving life, this constant surge of goodness could not, anymore, rejuvenate him. It ended where judgment comes and words lack air. Starved of oxygen, their inventors lying still on deathbeds, they are nowhere found – not to assure, nor condemn, not breed inspiration, nor collapse the ever onward soul.

In the space of quiet that every family of faith ensures, the emptiness of unrequited love outdid the peace. For peace is not, if there is no love. In searching for love, constant and untiring, peace is unattainable. Hope is not, for love is the addiction that demands searching but never, in death, finding. To be sure they exist beyond, and in beyond, in now – this alone is the comfort. But hollow. So they sit – we sit – and wonder what ifs and whys and if the dream will end.

Some have said, is this earth of ours a handkerchief of God, a remembrancer designedly dropped? To notice Him, to look at Him, to love Him. And so I wonder, the simple love of human beings, dangled harshly in their lives. And when taken, the initials “YHWH” hint in searching. When something enlivens the heart – but for a second – this mysterious monogram appears. And what are we to think? But that the attention-hungry God has given the heart love that thrusts beautifully, but to see what and where – and notice Him.

So the candles blow, wavering in quiet breeze. The words are hung like heavy tapestries on chapel walls. Timeless invocations to the Savior, certain responsibilities of us. But I abscond with the little me that I am left, the water skip, and every note that processes out through cracks and windows shun to still the tight-wrapped edge of my own door.

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