Thursday, July 09, 2009

Lonely Mountains, Sleeping Adams, Dancing Angels, and the Color Green

I had a great conversation over cigars and stout with my good pal Armando on Wednesday, and we were discussing the way men like Chesterton, Bono, Rich Mullins, C.S. Lewis, and others wrote about God's involvement in the world (I have been told by my Catholic friends that these men have a "sacramental worldview," which I sort of understand, but not really). Anyway, they bring to the table a kind of richness and appreciation of God's immanence that cannot but stir one's heart, especially when you're just not used to that sort of thing.

I have written here before of Chesterton's view that apple blossoms produce apples not from the mere laws of nature but through magic, and that rivers flow downstream because they're enchanted, so I'll not repeat that stuff again. But consider these words of the late Rich Mullins from "The Color Green":

And the moon is a sliver of silver
Like a shaving that fell on the floor
Of a Carpenter's shop.
And every house must have its Builder;
And I awoke in the house of God.

Where the windows are mornings and evenings,
Sretched from the sun, across the sky,
North to south.
And on my way to early meeting
I heard the rocks crying out,
I heard the rocks crying out:

"Be praised for all your tenderness
By these works of Your hands!
Songs that rise, and rains that fall
To bless and bring to life your land!
Look down upon this winter wheat
And be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky, and the color green
That fills these fields with praise!"
Elsewhere Mullins fuses heavenly imagery with that of earth thusly:

And the work trucks come running
With their bellies full of coal,
And their big wheels humming
Down this road that lies open
Like the soul of the woman
Who hid the spies who were looking
For the land of the milk and the honey.

And this road, she is a woman;
She was made from a rib
Cut from the sides of these mounains,
O these great sleeping Adams who are
Lonely, even here in paradise;
Lonely for somebody to kiss them.
(If by God's grace I ever pen lines even remotely comparable to these, I will die a happy man.)

Sometimes I wonder what a man like Rich Mullins saw when he closed his eyes and meditated upon God, and the beauty and fieceness of his majesty. Whether he's singing about "angels dancing on Jacob's stairs" as "the moon moves past Nebraska, spilling laughter on those cold Dakota hills," or how God "takes by its corners this whole world and shakes us bored, and shakes us free," there was a depth (a simple depth actually, if you'll forgive the oxymoron) to his faith that I, for one, am trying to recover in my own life.

It is my conviction that, whether through a sacramental wordview or, even better, by means of a two-kingdoms theology whereby earth is legitimized, the greater our love is for this world, the greater will be our love for the God who made it.