Notes from Underground – December 2021
"Street Psalms is a 'community of the Incarnation' and we will soon celebrate the mystery of Word made flesh. I have come to see this mystery not merely as an event that happened 2,000 years ago with the birth of Jesus, but an 'infinite moment when everything happens.' And it’s happening now."
Grace comes through the creation word, Be.
The gate opens without hesitating.
Between the push of the buh
and the smooth launch of the ee
there is an infinite moment
when everything happens.
These lines help me imagine God giving birth to Creation.
As in, “Let there be…”
Street Psalms is a “community of the Incarnation” and we will soon celebrate the mystery of Word made flesh. I have come to see this mystery not merely as an event that happened 2,000 years ago with the birth of Jesus, but an “infinite moment when everything happens.” And it’s happening now. Word is always becoming flesh and dwelling among us, without hesitation.
I have spent 59 years undergoing Word made flesh, and sometimes I wonder if I’ve learned anything at all about how this gate opens.
I catch a glimpse.
I see the gate opening. Time stands still and it brings me to my knees. I suffer what C.S. Lewis called the “weight of glory” – the unbearable goodness, beauty, light and life of reality. It undoes me every time. Perhaps this is what God meant when God said, “No one sees my face and lives.” In the presence of the Presence – something dies. That something feels a lot like what Merton calls the “false self.” And this dying makes room for what he calls the “true self.” This is the baptismal journey – the dying of what isn’t, and the rising of what is.
You would think by now that this would all be familiar territory, and it is in a way, but each time it happens like it’s the first time and it catches me unaware.
The moment comes, when it comes, as it comes, and it’s never not a surprise. I can pray for the moment, prepare for the moment, cultivate, and try to create the moment, but the moment has never once bent itself to my will…and God knows I’ve tried. It is utterly free and uncontrollable. When it happens (and it is always happening) my soul feels its worth.
This past year we saw many glimpses of Word Made Flesh, dwelling among us in our community. I am tempted to create a top ten list but who can rank such things? So here are ten glimpses, in no particular order.
- When Ojii accepted the fellowship at Harvard.
- When the community gathered around Hultner, Abhishek, Fred, Ivan, Mario, and Irene and their families who suffered COVID-19, as well as Valery during a series of tragedies in Haiti.
- When Joel Van Dyke accepted the call to pastor in his hometown.
- When Ray Bakke blessed our mission.
- When all parts of the community gathered virtually at the Institute.
- When we ordained 16 new leaders to the SP Community.
- When Kristy Farber (our board chair) successfully underwent major surgery for cancer.
- When Joel Aguilar was featured in UnRival magazine.
- When Kate, Trisha and Joey joined as new hub directors.
- When Irene gave the benediction at the Institute.
All of these, and much more, are signs of the “infinite moment when everything happens.”
They are also signs to me that we have completed yet another chapter in the life of our story together and I feel the deep satisfaction that comes with that.
Of course, the story continues to unfold, and I am eager to find out “what’s next?” but according to Jesus, the best way to prepare for what’s coming is to relax into what is. In fact the last verse of Jesus’ sermon on the mount (when he reveals the shape of his kingdom that has come among us) is this: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. … Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:34).
So, let’s let tomorrow take care of itself. Instead, let’s celebrate the mystery of Word made flesh, dwelling among us, today. That gate opens without hesitating. This is the infinite moment when EVERYTHING happens and it’s happening right…
wait for it….
wait for it…