Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Day the World Cried


[Today we enjoyed our Sunday Eucharist at the beach, complete with sand altar decorated by the children. The readings were Psalm 98:4-10 and John 2:1-11.]

We have a very cute little dog with a pushed in face. We also had her mother as a pet, and her name was Piggy because of the noise she made while eating. The day she died it rained. I said the world was crying at her death. A funny way of looking at things perhaps, but one not that far off Scripture. We often divorce spiritual and material to the point of paganism. But Psalm 98 reminds us that creation praises God in its own way. And the Gospel we read has the water cooperating with the wine in adding to the joy of the marriage, but more importantly allowing the saviour to be manifested to his disciples (Jn 2:11). We often think of the miracles of Jesus as him overpowering or taming nature, or manipulating inert, dead, material. But the alternative view of all of creation responding to the saviour makes just as much theological sense, if not more. The spiritual and material in the Christian scheme of things are not dualistically divorced. God made all that is, and if God ever stopped creating, everything that is would immediately cease to exist. Creation is continually in the presence of God, and might not be as 'unaware' of it as we think. The classic example of this is the darkness at the crucifixion of Jesus. We often think of this as God making the light fade to make a point. But what if it were the world mourning the loss of the saviour?

All this fits with a proper understanding of the Incarnation, sacraments and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If God became human, and was bodily resurrected, and if we can receive God by eating and drinking, and doing this together, then it makes sense that the world mourned the death of the saviour that dark afternoon.

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