A sneek peak at my article for Delta UMC’s January newsletter.
I believe it was late January, 7 or 8 years ago when my world changed drastically. It was a fairly normal day, filled with normal tasks, but in a single moment things became new to me, and a world that I had never really been exposed to opened up to me in dramatic, dare I say, magical fashion. I was driving down Glendale Avenue in Toledo at 7 or 8 PM and I was all alone looking in amazement at the world around me. Trees along the side of the road had twigs at the ends of tree branches illuminated by soft street lamps, twigs that I had never existed. There were street signs, and the words on those signs were legible well before I actually approached the street which they marked. Dead grass was not just a blur of gray in the moonlight, but individual blades of dead grass had appeared. The whole world changed. I was hoping that it would start snowing, I wanted nothing more than to see individual flakes hitting my windshield, I was certain that on that evening snowflakes would be beautiful. What had happened to me? A miracle had happened to me. It was not a descending angel or some wild encounter with God… no, scratch that, it was a wild encounter with God, but it is not what you think. A few moments before the world changed I was sitting in a store, a very strange store. I was taken into a dark room in that strange store, where I was asked by a stranger to interpret writings that appeared on the wall of that barely lit room. Before I left a stranger handed me a device made with some simple bent up wires, fastened together with screws that held two pieces of formed plastic. I had seen devices like these before, my father used them, so did my mother. I stepped out of the store into the cold night, slid the device up onto my nose, and let the wires wrap around my head to my ears, and in an instant, the world changed. Correctional lenses… glasses. Nothing would ever be the same. You tell me that glasses are no miracle and I will call you a liar. I have seen blades of grass, twigs on trees, and individual snowflakes. I have seen the one little brown fleck in my sons otherwise blue eyes. I have seen that my daughter’s curls still exist even when she is on the other side of the room. Did you know that leaf piles are made of individual leaves, not just a blur of yellow, red, and brown? Miracle.
I recall another day, a more miraculous day even the day I first placed that magical device on my face. This day produced more change than any magical device could ever muster. It was earlier this year, driving, seeing the twigs again, the grass again, thinking of the brown fleck in my sons iris again, and realizing that this world, all of it, from the dead blade of grass, to the hot dog sitting on the warm roller at Speedway were all the spoken word of God. Squeeze the piece of paper in your hand, run its edge along your finger, let the paper cut your finger, look at the blood. What is all that stuff made of? How did it get here? What is it for? Why does this particular paper, with strange typed markings on it interest you, while there is other paper that you clean yourself with and flush away? Did the tree used to make this paper know that it was going to be a newsletter? Is it relieved to not be wrapped around a piece of cardboard in your bathroom? Does this piece of paper laugh at that piece? Where are you going with this Jay? What is your point? Take your glasses off, can you still read?
Listen, this world is spoken into existence by our God, and it is magical. You need to think like a 4 year old again, and you will see the magic. That cup of coffee you drank this morning, was it made with water that flowed down the river Jordan 2000 years ago as Jesus was baptized? Maybe. This whole world is God’s poem, God’s spoken world, it is a revelation of Himself. The bright joys of this world are His colors, the shadows of despair are His shadows, and together this world in all vivid arrangements is His poem.
Get wrapped up in this story, it is His story. Look at this world in a new light, see that you also are a spoken character in this grand narrative of His. Consider the type of character that you are, do you make the story more interesting? Are you faithful wife, husband, parent… or the one that causes undo strife and derision?
Grab a pile of God’s spoken snowflakes in your bare hands, fashion them into a ball, shove them down the back of a friend who isn’t watching, watch their terror, and their smile, and the duck because a pile of God’s spoken flakes are sure to be coming back at you. Warm up a cup of his spoken water, dump some of His spoken cocoa mix in it, give it to your friend a laugh, and realize as you do it, that this really is a wonderful story.
In the beginning was the word, and the word with God and the word was God, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. By Jesus, all things have been created. The world, the Christ, for you. It is His story, His poem, His world, bask in that.
A final word of warning, if you see me this winter with my hand behind my back and a smirk on my face…
Duck and cover.