January 16, 2007

Nothing will be lost...

Meditation for Wednesday
in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 1994

The Society of the Atonement at Graymoor

Genesis 9.8-17; Psalm 148; Romans 8.18-23; John 1.1-5,9-14

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

Beloved sisters and brothers, let me tell you a mystery.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.
In the economy of salvation, nothing goes to waste.
Our God is not a God of acceptable losses.
Nothing God has made deserves God’s hatred.
Everything that is was created in love.
Each atom, every blade of grass,
and most of all each human soul,
reposes in the assurance of divine, unalterable love.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.

The whole creation groans,
subjected for a time by the divine command
to wait on tiptoe and in expectation:
waiting for the children to grow up,
waiting for the children to inherit,
waiting for the glory to be revealed.

For glory came down from heaven,
and hid itself within a tiny child,
a child some tried to kill,
a child some tried to ignore,
a child that others worshiped,
a child destined to be the rise and fall of many
not just in Israel but throughout the world.
The glory hid itself,
but could not hide itself for long.
It shone as light in darkness,
and the darkness could not hold it in.
The darkness tried to turn its back,
the naughty children hid their eyes and said,
“You can’t see me,”
but the light was so relentless,
it was so strong it shone right through the darkness.
The darkness never knew what hit it;
for when the light was come, the darkness wasn’t darkness any more.

Beloved, nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.
Creation groans, waiting for the promise,
waiting for the branch to bud and blossom and bear,
waiting for the children to inherit,
waiting for the children to stop their fighting,

waiting for the children to open their eyes
to behold the glory shining from each others faces.

“Never again,” God said, “never again;
I’ll never kill you all again.
Never again will water wash a world away.
I promise you, and set the contract in the clouds,
the covenant in the storm-cloud,
my Name in shining light.
I’ll keep my word; my word is good.
It lasts for ever.
I will do more.
I’ll send the Word,
I’ll send my Son to seal the contract with his blood,
blood shared with you
— your blood, your human blood.
Nothing will be lost. All will be restored.”

“All? All?” I ask. “What, all?
Even those who turned their backs?
Even those who through free will
rejected you, the Will that gave them freedom?”
“Yes,” says the Lord, “all will be restored.
Nothing will be lost.”

“How, Lord?” I ask.
“How will they be redeemed
who turn away? How will their blind eyes see?
How will their hard hearts melt?”
God answers patiently,
“Love will turn them ‘round.
My love turns stars, you know,
it turns the universe;and though a human heart is heavier in my eyes
than a thousand, thousand white dwarf cores,
my love will turn it; wait and see!
All will be restored. Nothing will be lost.”

“When, Lord?” I ask.
“When will the wound be healed?”
“Don’t you know, my Child?” God answers.
“The healing has begun.
It started with the coming of my Son.
This was the new beginning,
just as long before,
when through him all that is was made.
You should have seen it!” God laughs softly.
“It only took the gentlest touch,
the merest breath of Love
to start the universe to being.
The quarks began to sing,
the particles to spin,
the forces to divide
under the strong even pressure of his compass.
The angels were impressed.
The Spirit hovered, kibitzing,
offering suggestions
for the value of Planck’s Constant
and the speed of light,
and recommending
that space would be more pleasing
with a gentle curve.
It was a good week’s work,
when the Word made the world.
And so it will again.
The healing has begun.
Nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.”

“Is it really that simple?” I ask.
“Can the wound be healed with a touch?”
“The healing will take a bit longer,”
God answers, then pauses.
“O.K., I’ll be honest; it’s you subcontractors,
the partners in redemption with my Son.The specifications are clear,
‘Love God and each other,’
and the plan is concise:
‘one house, many mansions.’
But you seem so intent on constructing outhouses,
rock gardens and car parks!
Instead of a banqueting hall
you construct fast-food stands!
There are times I regret I extended the work force
past Yahweh & Son.
But what’s done is done.
The only thing in all my creation
I don’t mind losing is time.
I’ll have the job done right
if it takes forever,
and we’ll keep at it together until we get it right.
I am not a God of acceptable losses.
I won’t cut corners;
cost overruns don’t phase me.
Nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.”

And so, my beloved in Christ,
I give you this word:
now is the time for the children to grow up,
now is the time for the heirs to inherit.
Nothing will be lost.
All will be restored.
And now is the time.
The whole world is waiting,
the stars hold their breath,
the wild beasts and cattle regard us with growing impatience,
the birds hover over us, the fish all tread water,
the trees shrug in wonder, or stand limbs akimbo,
and deep in our hearts
God’s Spirit is groaning:
“Be reborn, beloved, become what you are
and the world will be free.”
The Spirit is crying:
“Look up to the light, your hearts will be whole
and the wound will be healed.”
The Spirit is singing: “My children, my children are home!”




All I can think to say is ...


Oh ...

... and thank you! :)

Jared Cramer said...

excellent. thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

Tobias, just so you'll know, I don't comment on every post, because I would not want you to think of me as an adoring fan. ;o)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Dear Grandmère,
Thanks for the occasional encouragement -- it means a lot to me to be favored by your visits, whether you comment or no!

Anonymous said...

Tobias, thank you. How beautiful, and hopeful. May I have your permission to share this with the Faithful Fabric of St. Margaret's EPISCOPAL Church in Woodbridge, Virginia, as they gather for a congregational meeting on this Sunday to elect a vestry? Thank you so much, and please keep them in your prayers.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Dear Diane,
Please feel free to share. This sermon does represent, for me, a hope, not a certainty. But I think that is one of the differences between real orthodoxy and that which is claimed by some segments of the church: real orthodoxy rests on faith, hope, and love -- not certainty.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about turning this into a Eucharistic Prayer?

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Dear Ann,
You are the second person to bring that up. I'd honestly never thought about it -- and the ultimate irony is that this was written for a "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" liturgy that, for obvious reasons, couldn't include the Eucharist: it was at the Mother House of the RC Society of the Atonement. Perhaps unconsciously I worked in what couldn't be done amidst what could? It certainly fits into my sense of the Holy Eucharist as a means to celebrate baptismal unity rather than a sign of institutional unity, as our RC brothers (and I do mean brothers) see it.

Anonymous said...

Tobias - You have artfully articulated many of my feelings about God and his relationship to his imperfect creations. Bravo!

Jared Cramer said...

I'm surprised sometimes by how often I come back to read this meditation. It always, always, speaks to me.

Thanks again. I hope your New Year is touched with the joyful reconciliation of all things in Our Lord.

David@Montreal said...

heartfelt thanks
you living blessing

thank-you again