Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Cat is Back

I’ve written elsewhere and a pastor friend has also written elsewhere about my experience. Oh. Since the age of 15 maybe. Something like that. Through periods of atheism and agnosticism and belief. Of God during worship. God wandering the sanctuary, as the congregation sings, growling around, rubbing up against my person, like a great jungle cat. Tall as my sternum. Making me tingly. Making me feel.

How should I say this. Frightened and hopeful and a little bit leaky around the window-shades and excited and loved and loving and naked and. Well. Like I could just as easily be God’s lunch as his pet.

It is literally a hair-raising experience. And when I have this experience, I feel also. Of all things. Reassured.

What? You are thinking. Reassured? By a God that is so fundamentally other. So dangerous. So clearly capable of rending one limb from limb. So ready and willing to rend one limb from limb.

And I know. I’m thinking the same thing. Open-mouthed. Gawking at my own paradoxical reaction. My own odd feelings.

I don’t know. This is what love is, is what I’m feeling. This is what at heart I long for. I ache for this. I look forward to this. To the terrible jungle cat showing up and rubbing up against me.

It happened today during worship. Today, he showed up again during worship. And it’s. Oh. I want to weep with happiness that he has chosen to come back.

Maybe this is what I mean. Maybe this suggests something of what I mean. When I talk about mystic believer priests. About the priesthood of mystic believers.

Maybe what I mean is that for us, being the slaves of Christ is not about us. It is not about us at all. We are just his slaves, after all. Our ontological status is just above the pigs and not far from the dirt clods. And being made of the dirt, this seems fitting.

In other words, our being is not about us. Our being is about him and looking for him and finding him and doing what he asks. It’s about loving him. It’s about trembling with love for him. It is about trembling to do what he asks because he is our beloved.

It’s about wanting to live in his presence always. No matter how frightening. And it is frightening. Don’t let anybody fool you with talk of how God is a lamb. Of how God is a lamb only.

God is a tiger in a lambs’ body. A lamb in a tiger’s body. Both. God will tear your insides out as soon as look at you. And he does. He demands the most difficult things. And when one is shy. When one hesitates. He tears out one’s insides. Strews them all about the place.

God is love. But he is tiger love and lamb love both, at once. He is pussy cat love and jungle cat love at once. With God, anything may happen.

After he eviscerates you, for example, you find yourself whole again. Mended. Healed. That does happen. It happens all the time. The eviscerating and the healing, both. Sometimes both at once.

You find him showing up at worship again, for example. Rubbing up against you. Growling. Purring. Inviting you again into something that you think, maybe, he actually means. Means for you. Something that is certainly improbable but may be. If looked at in the right light. Possible.

But you don’t know. You are a mystic believer priest. And you don’t know. All you do know is who you love. And you do that fiercely. Frighteningly. Out of all proportion. Completely. And with abandon.

You look for him until you find him. Then you stay there and do what he says. Or go, if he says so. Stay or go, as he wishes. Doing whatever asked. No matter what that is.

Why? Why? you ask. For the pleasure of his company. For the infinite delight one finds near him. And nowhere else.

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