In the beginning

Pencil Preaching for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father” (John 14:29).

Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31a

Death takes us beyond logic into the world of the imagination. Night dreams have a timeless quality in which the order of events no longer matters. The end of the story appears in the middle to reveal everything. There are zones we pass through in which we know the Plan underlying the whole drama. We feel the joy of completion, the smoothing out of adversity and uncertainty to show heaven’s ultimate order hidden in the mystery of love.

Two angels play cards outside the tomb where time and space converge in the middle of history. They are infinite beings close enough to God to know all the secrets, but posted here they feel anticipation and wonder. Their discussion is about protocol.  The question is why the final image of human striving will retain the wounds of death. Can glory have imperfections? This detail in the plot astonishes them, a sign of God’s inner poignancy beyond angelic insight. It is a wonderful surprise. They hover visibly at the overlap between time and eternity and wait for the last dawn, the end and the beginning, the first glimpse of something utterly new. An extra ace in the deck.

“Above my pay grade,” one says, a joke between them about God’s unpredictability.  The Human Being will reappear in glory, but as crucified. It will be the essence of heaven to think on these things, how love first shocks, then reassures that everything has always been in hand. The end of the story will appear in the middle, like a rolling sonic boom across the universe.  The human witnesses will dream wide awake outside their time-space limitations, then see everything. They will know the joy of angels. They will be in the world again with precious knowledge, and there will be nothing left but to run and tell everyone about this Alleluia, the end of tears, and that everyone who ever lived will be there, singing.

       “When from our exile, God takes us home again, we’ll think we’re dreaming.

        We went out weeping, carrying seed for the sowing; we return, our mouths filled with joy.”

Pat Marrin

Pat is the former editor of our sister publication, Celebration, and he also served as NCR cartoonist. After retirement in 2016, Pat continues to contribute to NCR with his Francis comic strip and Pencil Preaching.

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