Thursday, July 17, 2014

Liquid Theology, Part 2

Another aspect of the theology of liquid that I thought worth exploring was liquid's role in the natural order of world. We looked at the concept of vessels and how the can be filled and poured. We also looked at grace being liquid-like.

And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts,
by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us. For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak,
according to the time, die for the ungodly? For scarce for a just man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die. But God commendeth his charity towards us;
because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us;
much more therefore, being now justified by his blood,
shall we be saved from wrath through him. -Romans 5:5-9

In the natural world, this still holds true. Grace is poured over the earth as is rain, and it affects different areas differently.

That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. -Matthew 5:45

The diverse beauty of nature speaks to this spiritual reality. Just as God blesses some more than others, so other have the ability to use these blessings differently.

For example, deep in the heart of the Amazon, lots of rain falls down year-round. The area is absolutely teeming with life, and very different kinds of life at that. But in, say, Nevada, rain is more sparse. The area has a different horizon, a different sort of beauty. It's a beauty more open and wide, rich in deep shades of red and orange (unlike the rich green of the Amazon).

The Amazon and the desert are both stunningly beautiful places. What sets apart the type of beauty is the amount of rain that falls.

And so too it is with humans. Different people receive different amounts of grace ("rain"), and just as importantly, different types of grace.

One day it started raining, and it didn't quit for four months.
We been through every kind of rain there is.
Little bitty stingin' rain... and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways.
And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.
Shoot, it even rained at night...

Maybe this is part of the reason why the sin of envy is so damaging. For the desert to receive as much rain as the jungle would be to destroy it, washing away the scenic beauty and fragile stillness of the arid landscape. And if the jungle were given the cactus and the horned lizard, the gifts would surely die. We were created to be unique before God, our own work of art. Our gifts are own own, just as each climate and country has specific gifts unique unto it. Heck, just in Florida you can see the vast array of different gifts and areas. Should the Everglades wish they were Panama City? Would South Beach benefit from receiving the trees of Jacksonville?

I will praise thee, for thou art fearfully magnified: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knoweth right well. -Psalm 139:14 (translated out of Douay-Rheims: I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. -Epesians 2:10

 No, God's gifts to us are uniquely and perfectly our own. We see this reflected in nature in the climates and rainfalls God distributes. Those who struggle in life and are given (seemingly) little are as beautiful and precious as a cool desert evening. Individuals bursting with prosperity are akin to the marvelous jungles, each person as different as the landscapes in Thailand, Hawaii, Cameroon, Jamaica, and Brazil. The factors at play here are the receiver of the grace and the grace itself, distributed through Divine Providence.

But not only the amount of rain makes creation unique, but the timing of the rain. Rain is universal: around the globe, it is the grower of crops, nourishment of animals, a transformer of barrenness to fertility. It is the catalyst of life. Fields lay bare through a dry winter, and come to life when the spring brings rain. Souls carry on in darkness until grace rains down and brings them new life.

Wet and dry seasons in Africa.
More Lembas bread wet and dry seasons in Africa.

Charting across time gives us a picture of the seasons - a cycle of dry, or cool, or dark, gradually giving way to a period of wet, warm, or light - often all three together, but always returning to the former and back again.

And so it is, too, with our deepest and most profound gift from God. Through the sacrament of marriage, we see liquid theology take form in both the beautiful and delicate form of the feminine and the masculine ideal of smooth, strong, and steady. Both sexes receive their unique graces from God - put another way, both sexes are filled with unique graces, and pour them out into the other. The cycle of fertility in humans follows that of the rest of nature. Phases of fertility and infertility follow a cyclical form, with the catalyst of life dependent upon the proper seasonal conditions to spark a new creation.

In marriage, we participate in
God's creative power.

I love the trinity as a symbol for marriage, where love
creates constantly.

All the while, God sends His rain upon the just and the unjust. Those who reject the gift still receive it - the rain still comes. Christ's blood still covers humanity and provides salvation to all. But, we have to accept it.

These gifts are written into the very core of creation. The very things our mortal lives depend on (i.e., rain, food, procreation) reveal deep truths about the God that our eternal lives depend on.

And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who is against us? -Romans 8:28-31

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