Thursday, November 15, 2012

accept their untempered grief as a perfect offering of love

They said there were northern lights in these here parts night before last.

I missed them. I also missed the story as to why they happen --not the story about magnetism and solar flares and all that --but the old story of the people here... --the story that most likely describes northern lights in the most awesome way, so that one feels absolute humility, but also an intimate relationship with the event --a relatedness --a connection so deep and yet so obvious....

I don't know that story yet.... But, I hope to know it one day.

Last night, before the comfort service, I sat in the church and practiced my flute, and someone heard me and gave me the story of how the flute came to be --it was all about love, and a young man noticing the sound of the wind in the trees --how it whistled through the holes in the tree --so he made a flute and played it and hoped it would cause a certain girl to fall in love with him. There are other ceremonies, besides courtship, where the flute is used, but that story was not shared with me.... I hope that story has to do with love too.

--but, it all has to do with love, doesn't it? What else is there?

Joel was listening to some philosophical lectures from some ivy league college --he was fascinated and started to tell me. I listened for three sentences and then it hit me like a ton of bricks --contemporary philosophy is the new theology, but it is a-personal, which means there cannot be love... or can there be love without a persona... ?

--which is, I think, why the Christian world view speaks of a personal God --not that God has a relationship with me, personally --that God is my personal God.... But, that God has a persona --a diverse persona for Christians --distinct, diverse Father/Son/Spirit --but One --and with a personhood.

The Lakota, too, have peopled the cosmos....


At prayer this morning (Joel 2:21-27)

Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the LORD has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the LORD your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

--a very personal God, who is intimately involved in the rain, and earth, grain, wine, oil, locusts --an earthy God who understands shame....

Hey God, it's margaret.... hear my prayer for your people --and I really don't know how to put into to words the transmogrification of my soul my whole being in this place --and the vanity that you even might care --or that the cosmos notices... but, since the old stories all say you created it all for us, for our joy, I thought I might just say thank you to you --whatever that means --but the captivating gratitude I feel... for the generosity --for all of it --the whole mysterious shebang.... And about those 20-somethings last night --accept their grief at the loss of their friend as an offering of love. I know it's probably not their first loss, but for some, I know it was a huge loss. I encouraged them to grieve in a holy way --not to mask the pain with drugs and alcohol, but to allow the emptiness they feel to filled with you... So, as you did for me and so many others I have known --accept their untempered grief as a perfect offering of love. And give me the imagination to tell the story of love again. That's all. Amen.

Oh --another perfect offering --sunrise through ice.

Sunrise through the ice on my window, Eagle Butte, SD


Prairie Soul said...

A heartfelt post, and that is some spectacular frost art on your window. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like it. Seriously, it's stunning.

it's margaret said...

Isn't that ice STUNNING!!!!!! I agree!!!! I can't believe I stood there and gaped at it for so long --but I did!

susankay said...

I grew up in Connecticut with magic ice drawings on the windows. The glory of God in so many ways -- but cold people - how does this work?

btw -- moderation is very difficult

cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown said...

"or can there be love without a persona... ?" I think all real love is impersonal, like God's love for us.

it's margaret said...

ohoh --here we go.

Prairie Soul said...

There's no doubt some scientific explanation, susankay, but I'm happy to accept that such frost designs are nothing less than miracles.

rick allen said...

Apropos of nothing, perhaps, my favorite conjunction of a flute and the northern lights:

it's margaret said...

heh-heh --that's great! Thanks rick.