by Jon Dephouse
Last year, we heard Richard Rohr refer to a poet he had been reading named Christian Wiman. Rohr quoted Wiman as saying, “I never knew what love was until I met one that opened and opened and opened.” This line has perhaps haunted many of us, and since then I have been reading Wiman’s book of prose called, “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.” I offer one quote here to consider as we journey through this season of Advent:
“Modern spiritual consciousness is predicated upon the fact that God is gone, and spiritual existence, for many of us, amounts mostly to an essential, deeply felt and necessary, but ultimately inchoate and transitory feeling of oneness or unity with existence. It is mystical and valuable, but distant. Christ, though, is a shard of glass in your gut. Christ is God crying I am here, and here not only in what exalts and completes and uplifts you, but here in what appalls, offends and degrades you, here in what activates and exacerbates all that you would call not-God. To walk through the fog of God toward the clarity of Christ is difficult because of how unlovely, how ‘ungodly’ that clarity often turns out to be.”
As Christ enters this world in the flesh as God incarnate, how might we perceive Christ not only in the joy, exaltation and all that we call good, but also in the “shards of glass in our gut,” and in “all that we would call ‘not God’?” How do we hold the ineffable mystery of the notion of God, or the ‘fog of God’, with the clarity of the incarnate Christ who dwells intimately within the full spectrum of our human experience?