I ended the last post with a couple of quotes from Henri Nouwen concerning eschatological dreams and visions of harmony. Here’s a quick reminder:
These visions… offer us hope when we are close to despair, courage when we are tempted to give up on life, and trust when suspicion seems the more logical attitude. Without these visions our deepest aspirations, which give us the energy to overcome great obstacles and painful setbacks, will be dulled and our lives will become flat, boring, and finally destructive. Our visions enable us to live the full life…
We must remind one another constantly of the vision. Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.
As I alluded to before I see this very much part of the prophetic role of the artist. Expression of these energizing visions stimulates our senses, opening our eyes and ears, to see again that “the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”, and that Life is a gift, our very existence is a miracle. As Peterson reminds us in ‘Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places‘ our proper response to this is: wonder. ‘Christ plays in creation’, Peterson tells us, and here there is joy.
We don’t have to come up with vast plans to experience this or to respond to this, this life is all around us. The universe is brimming with the life of God. It can be found all round the world and on the street outside your door. This short tale by Dan Wilt reminded me of the simplicity of this today.
This morning, I took a one hour walk around our town, primarily for the sake of exercise.
As I glided along the muddy roadsides and cracking sidewalks, I
- Took in an mp3, one hour course on European history and its cultures, identities and hopes in the 19th-20th centuries,
- Walked across the rubble of a construction site of a new highway going around our town,
- Waved to 23 truck drivers, who all waved back,
- Shared morning greetings with three friends who happen to be mentally handicapped,
- Joked with the catholic priest who both cares for them, and serves with godly passion on our university board,
- Greeted the father of one of my middle daughter’s friends,
- Smiled at the town council member to whom my son delivers newspapers,
- Created a concept for a new series of songs related to the soul’s progress through a lifetime, and
- Came home to a house silent with late, summer vacation sleep.
On a more global level, but no less simple, I discovered this today*: a young man named Matt decided to go around the world dancing documenting his journey as he went. More recently, a chewing gum company decided to sponsor him, but this wasn’t the original plan, the original plan was just to dance. I’ll allow the-arts-pastor to explain:
If dancing can be simultaneously awful and innocent and joyful, then young Matt shows us how. By the end of watching this video I found myself almost crying, I’m not exactly sure why. But there was something almost prophetic in his globe-trotting dance-athon. I kind of wished a Christian had thought of the idea first. But that rarely happens, I’m afraid. We’re not light-hearted enough. Here Matt’s dancing is like a kind of announcement, like that of a jester, or a child, of the new Kingdom. And oh how sweet and unashamedly goofy it is.