I love to read. I long to be able to sit and get lost in a novel again, it has been too long. But even though I love to read, I am definitely not an English major.
Years ago, when I took American and British Lit in college, I decided something – I was absolutely no good at deciphering what an author intended with his/her work of art. I found picking apart a work of literature daunting. I found no enjoyment in the process at all. I felt it was insulting to the author for us to think we could assume what they thought and what they truly felt. And I was always wrong with my answers.
For example, Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, we were asked to read and write what we thought the images meant, what we thought the author felt. I remember what I wrote, basically that the rider was taking in the quiet, the solitude, the freshness of the falling snow; the peacefulness of the woods. I was wrong. The teacher informed us it was about death, most likely suicide (because it had been noted that Robert Frost wrote this during a time of depression). I went back and re-read it just now, it still makes me think of peacefulness, the quiet of the woods with the freshness of the falling snow. I soon decided that all literature is apparently about death thoughts or only the dark side of ones moods. Maybe that teacher was a little obsessed by such.
We have a new associate pastor at our church. Well, I suppose he is not new anymore. Come June it will be a year. He is young, married a couple years and just recently joined the ranks of fatherhood.
His passion to share God’s word is inspiring. His approach to sharing God’s word makes me want to stand up, clap my hand’s and say “yada yada yada, can you get to the point?!?” Yes, I am sure God has some wonderful repercussion for me for such immaturity, but there is a point to this.
This pastor was an English major before going into seminary. On Wednesday nights he teaches us. Like an English lit teacher.
Now, I think that is great for those who think that way. By that way I mean, he compares verses to each other and talks about the parallels. He uses terms that I last heard when learning about the rhythms in poetry. He finds symbolism in items that I have never heard presented that way before (which is not a bad thing). But some of this just gets drawn out way too far for my simple mind.
My husband, the engineer, is who put his finger on why we were having such a hard time listening to many of these messages. He said he had his doubts that God planned out His word to have all these rhythms and have these parallels and the copious amounts of symbolism that has been presented, seemed like an awful lot of work to decipher and why would God have it so cryptic. I wondered about that too, because some of us would NEVER tie all that together, like Jesus being born in the manger, which was essentially a cave and then being buried in a cave. I would not have thought of that hidden message. Or the Myrrh being given by the wise men as a symbol of the death to come and the fragrance used to cover the odor. Really? Kinda took the sweetness of the birth out of the picture.
Ok, Ok, I will wrap this up. I said all this to say I had an epiphany the other day. As I was driving and listening to the radio, a quick message came on from one of the Proverbs 31 women. She was talking about relationships and how tangled some could be. That caused me to listen to closer.
She said sometimes it is hard to pray for these relationships because the emotions are too strong and take over and we start thinking and talking more than praying.
Then she said that she believed God being called Messiah was intentional due to all the “mess” we end up in and that we need to remember, when in a “mess” to think of the “Mess”iah.
Now my initial thought was, I don’t know that God did that. Then it hit me. If I truly believe that God is all things to all people. That He is omniscient and omnipresent, then why not?
No, I don’t really believe that God thought hey, let me have Jesus called Messiah because it starts with Mess and all these crazy humans end up in messes. No, but I do think God has made it possible for those words He inspired to having meaning to many, on many different levels, in many different areas of interest. Those that need meter and rhymes, it is there. Those that need a little bit of Harlequin romance, well there is some of that too. Love? Revenge? Law and Order? It is there. Those who doubt? yup, another fine example.
I am glad He created life so that each is unique in their own way. I find comfort in that He has inspired the world and words around us to speak to each of us in the way we hear and feel that meets our own individual uniqueness.