The Great Dane

October 24, 2014

Now and again and more often than not, we each will experience a moment of cold clarity that alarms us. We will be stunned by a flash of insight that says, “This is what and who you are…It is time for a change. And change always begins in the now!” These moments are, by and large, good things – a stiff, chill breeze sent from heaven to awaken the soul to its true condition. But as is our want, we scurry quickly - in the words of  Solomon – to find a place where there is: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”  (Proverbs 6:10) That passage is lifted from a larger section (Proverbs 6:6-11) where Solomon sets up a wee ant as an instructor.  Solomon is basically saying, “Hey sluggard….while you’re laying there take a gander at that ant passing by. He doesn’t have a boss or a life coach or a motivational speaker or a yoga instructor – but just look at him get on with his purposeful little life.” Solomon’s point? Warm and cozy is the default position of a soul adrift. And this…ants are brilliant.

So, back to that cold clarity thing. To linger in that moment of self-revelation forms the possibility of true transformation. Lingering provides a bit of space for us to consider the reality that, “If I continue in this way, allowing this life, that habit and these thoughts to harden – to have my life informed by anything other than the Savior to whom I mouth an allegiance – then I will have chosen futility. I will miss His heaven come to earth.” That right there is some good ant logic.

I would here like to introduce you to a Great Dane, not of the canine genus, but rather  a Danish Philosopher/Theologian who seemed to have spent much of his life receiving, lingering and acting out on these moments of clarity. From one such struggle with heaven he wrote thus: 

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. “My God”, you will say, “if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?” Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

How about that? Kierkegaard takes a knife and puts it to the throat of his own profession – that of scholar/theologian – to reveal to us his moment of clarity. He reminds us that the difficulty with the Christian faith is not in the knowing, it is in the doing.  And now, I’ve just reminded you! 

~ CJ

© Patrick Crossing 2015