This will be my last reflection, at least for a while. Our return to worship and slow resumption of certain aspects of parish life, as well as an increased pastoral load, need my attention. And as the summer months are now upon us, it is a good time for all of us to rest when and where we can find it! I am grateful to all who have reached out to me in the past weeks with comments of appreciation and support for my reflections. It has been a privilege and pleasure to offer them to you!
One of my spiritual devotions during each summer is to reread Christopher Moore's novel,
Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
. The main premise of this fictional work is to wildly recreate Jesus' childhood, adolescent and young adult years, a time frame that is almost completely ignored in the four main gospels. Moore's overall approach is revealed by a quote from Voltaire which begins Part I of the book: "God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh." The tale is told by Jesus' longtime, childhood friend, Biff, a notorious sinner who keeps Jesus' hands full. The book is not for everyone - while Moore clearly assumes Jesus is who he says he is and the last chapters incorporate the gospel accounts, the overall picture is one of a very human Jesus, and while the book is intriguing and humorous for many, some (like my father for example!) simply find that the language and stories are inappropriate if not heretical at times. While I confess that I am quite fond of the book, this is not the reason I reread it every summer. I do so because it reminds me to gently hold the stories of Christ, to open up my eyes and imagination to the faith I hold, to realize and accept that I and everyone are part of something larger and more mysterious and more beautiful than I can ever possibly imagine in my mind. In short, the creativity of the book invites me, every summer, to open my heart. One line, near the beginning of the book, resonates with this effort - "Children see magic because they look for it." There is a reason Jesus was fond of children. There is a reason that the kingdom of heaven can only be seen through the eyes of a child. It is a reminder to me, and I think we all need it from time to time, that as I journey through the world, to keep my eyes and heart open, to see beyond myself and my thoughts and beliefs, to see beyond whatever mess the world might be offering, and look for the "magic" of my life and the lives around me, to see the beautiful and the good that surrounds me, to see the abundance of blessings I have received and am receiving, and to have these feed my faith in God and love. Open eyes and open hearts. Now more than ever.
Peace and Love,