Monday, April 21, 2014

The New Ensign: Not Barnacle Bill the Sailor


Wandering on the Maui tarmac and picked up by security, a 16 year old boy is questioned by the FBI. He had climbed down from the wheel well of a jetliner from California, surviving a five hour flight at 38,000 feet. One source says the temperature there is 50 degrees below zero F, another says 75 below. Some will praise God that the boy is alive and unharmed. Some will praise God for the survival of several high school children on a South Korean ferry that capsized drowning hundreds of other children, what about them? Some who prayed for William will nevertheless pray without ceasing for an eight year old boy with a malignant brain tumor. In anguish, some will contemplate God, and wonder. 

In anguish, some will contemplate God, and wonder.

Monday in Easter Week
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Is that what it’s all about -- to attain to everlasting joys?

Some will wonder. Some will wander. Wondering, some have wandered and will never return. Some will keep at wondering, knowing they will never know; which is faith. I’m on the edge of that, not newly but constantly. Who's that knocking at my door? "Who or what is God?" my seminary theology professor kept asking us, and it was a question on the final exam. Who or what is it within me that wants or needs to keep on wondering, hopefully without wandering too far and not being able to find my way back? "Seek the Truth, come whence it may, cost what it will." Cost what it will? Am I sure about that? Am I certain that the seeking will prove worth the cost, if/once I find the Truth will I be glad of the journey? Maybe the Cost is the Truth. Or maybe the Truth is the Cost. Only fools or idiots are so certain they have found the Truth that they stop seeking. My only certainty is that the Truth is hiding under the cloak of invisibility, perhaps with Harry Potter in that pub at Hogsmeade, and I likely will never find it. But I'm not sure, I'm not Dumbledore, I'm Snape. No, in the end Severus proved to have been almost Christlike, I'm more that pompous ass Gilderoy Lockhart handing out portraits of himself.

Maybe I'll bring my portrait "The New Ensign" as a young naval officer downstairs and hang it in the dining room where I can admire it as I dine. 

Or, Oscar Wilde and The Picture of Dorian Gray, what would happen if I hide my portrait in the attic and hang a mirror in the dining room? I'm not sure.

I am certain of nothing except that I would trade my share of everlasting joys for the life of one child on the Korean ferry. Or for Brannon. Or for William. Or for Alfred, but then I would have had no life to trade. No matter, it doesn’t work like that, does it. How does it work? Who's that knocking at my door? Is that you, Sir Isaac?  

A terrible worrier about children, my children, everyone’s children, I’m not in control. At times, the anguish is almost unbearable. Who is in control? What about my prayer? 


Big, isn’t it. Not the moon, the Immensity, how does it work? Or, does it “work,” or is it chaos? It doesn’t seem to work like your clock, Newton. OK, maybe the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home, do go like clockwork; but the children, what about the children, what about the hundreds of children who drowned? What about Brannon? "Are we ants?" says the fair young maiden. I'm not into the "leap of faith," which is an escape to nowhere even if it's the only exit. And no answer at all, “Free Will” is nothing but apologetic, a self-satisfying rationalization of our piety. Or if FW is the answer, we need to wonder, wander and keep seeking. If the answer is FW, what can we believe? If God is in control, is Job atoned? Now on Easter Monday does God now understand where we’re coming from, and how it is?

Who am I? The boy's father at Mark 9:24. 

Who’s that knocking at my door?

W+ 

Pic: online, Hubble

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