Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To receive the King of all

It's very odd how paradox seems to be the rule rather than the exception with Christian Orthodoxy, and I think that's one reason why some people find it so attractive, at least intellectually, even esthetically.

Complex but not complicated in its 'natural' state, though when it accommodates the protocols of the modern world reversing this quality, everything about it abandons time and place, pointing beyond itself.

Emulating the Truth at every level and in all contexts, continually escaping the grasp of merely rational, as well as obsessively passionate, men without turning them out, or forcing their disillusion, it subsists.

Even while under subjection to unworthy rulers, or stagnant under generation-long reigns of the superstitious, it moves triumphantly along the historic road of its humiliation, with undiminished light and power.

Evincing the presence of the living God without convincing by force, conquering not by might or even right, but by mercy, by forgiveness, even by defeat, which the world regards with suspicion and despair.

It cannot be purchased at any price, not by anything convertible into currency, but only by that which is entirely beyond price, and even when obtained, it cannot be contained, but as the wild earth, escapes all ownership.

So we say we serve the Lord. We say we are born again. We say we are saved. We say all the words we think we should, as if this somehow proves we are Christians. We go to church, we pray, we fast, we give alms.

All the while, we fail to notice that to live we must die, to be saved we must be lost, to be sane we must be mad, to be healthy we must be sick—all of this, from the world's point of view, which we have come to share.

The path of paradox lies open behind closed doors, those very doors we shut to keep out the uninitiated, who have no desire in the least to enter, just as we who stand within hold ourselves back while bringing our offering.

Not the fat of bulls or goats or rams, not the religion we employ like fig leaves to hide our nakedness, no, but to follow Him in the night as He walks upon the waters, to lay aside all earthly cares, to receive the King of all.

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