Well I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
- Jimi Hendrix, "Voodoo Child"
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says
to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt
in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be
done for them.
- Gospel of Matthew
I don't think I can stand up next to a mountain and tell it to jump into the sea (though I'm sure Jimi Hendrix could). This is because I don't believe I myself am capable of doing that. If I did, I certainly would tell a mountain to jump into the sea - especially if it happened on a Friday afternoon after working all day in a library. Tossing a mountain into Narragansett Bay would be a nice change of routine.
& yet I do have faith in God (for which I'm grateful). It's grown more firm over time - maybe I've ripened somehow. Perhaps I'm fooling myself, but I feel less enmeshed in my own web of mistakes, troubles & distractions than I did when I was young (now I've jinxed myself! Watch that mountain fall on my head).
My faith is like a GPS system, or a lighthouse projecting beams into the imponderable fog around me. My imagination projects my conjectures about things... I model my hunches based on what I believe to be the case.
What do I see through these faith-goggles? I see a kaleidoscope of millions of people like me, billions of individual faces of persons; & I see how much I don't see : that is to say, what I (with my partially-blind vision) comprehend about people and persons is extremely limited, distorted, vague & fuzzy. What I comprehend about persons is really only a surface sketch, or a mental analogy, of that mysterious substantial something, the "I am" of each individual. & I believe the person per se is more profound & substantial than I can project or imagine.
So I believe in this world of a cloud of leaves of persons, flowing & standing together in a mystery of planetary time & space, heading through suffering experience on paths toward deeper encounters, clearer understanding, more light, more light. I see an almost Dantesque image of swirling circles of affectionate persons, joined together by a natural & supernatural agape - Dante's Man, the animale compagnevole (the friendly animal) : in a communion beyond time & space, transcending timespace - what Walt Whitman humorously celebrated as "adhesiveness".
I sense these lifting circles of spiritual joy - something seraphic, angelic - rising through time, as each one of those persons lifts up their own cross of spirit & truth - that is, the cross of showing forth love for God, neighbor, enemy - offering service to others, denying oneself... I see the outcome of those hidden good deeds ("as ye sow, so shall ye reap;" & "to those who give, shall more be given : good measure, overflowing, shall be poured into their lap"). I see the invisible, unacknowledged, humble works of service & charity carried out now and at each moment everywhere by millions upon millions of such persons on earth, of whatever tribe or faith, human beings...
I see humanity being transfigured in toto by the Word of God as a shared bread & wine of joy & a "peace which passeth understanding" - a transfiguration which is the purpose and telos of the earth itself, its "birth-pangs" in time & history : this is God building the human house on earth, through the Word become Person & arriving amongst us....
... & Jimi Hendrix too. Toot-toot! Tout suite. Laissez les bons temps roulez.