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The Centre of Everything

January 22, 2021

“It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

My Friday started as most Fridays do. Making sandwiches for lunches. Drinking coffee while the kids eat their breakfast. Getting to work on the mounds of laundry that have piled up during the week. Now, the blog. Soon, a book (Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, for those who are curious). It’s all so ordinary (except for Robinson’s prose).

This morning’s New Testament verse from the Daily Texts brings to mind words from Rowan Williams, erstwhile Archbishop of Canterbury, which I ran across in Christian Wiman’s He Held Radical Light:

It should be a rather exhilarating thought that the moment of creation is now – that if, by some unthinkable accident, God’s attention slipped, we wouldn’t be here. It means that within every circumstance, every object, every person, God’s action is going on, a sort of white heat at the centre of everything. It means that each one of us is already in a relationship with God before we’ve ever thought about it. It means that every object or person we encounter is in a relationship with God before they’re in a relationship of any kind with us. And if that doesn’t make us approach the world and other people with reverence and amazement, I don’t know what will.

Or, as Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “it is God who is at work in you.” One could say that both Paul and Williams are pointing out that God is in the ordinary, and that’s true. But it doesn’t go far enough; neither does it capture the greater truth they point it. Rather, the ordinary, the quotidian, the banal moments in our lives are taken up into the “white heat at the centre of everything.” Through Christ, by the Spirit, we are in the God who is at work in us. God is not simply tacked onto our lives as something extra. No, this is total contingency. We neither create nor redeem ourselves. We neither live nor die to ourselves.

In the middle of this mundane day, I’ll be spending some time with a dear friend. Before and after the time we spend together, we’ll both be in an eternal relationship with God. A relationship that springs forth from God’s creative love and transverses the chasm of death. A relationship that is possible in the now because it exists forever within the capacious eternity of the Triune God.

And if that’s not good news, I don’t know what is. May you will and work for God’s good pleasure today.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Creator God, we praise you for creation, which springs forth anew every second from your overflowing love. Give us eyes to see one another as those in whom you live, as those who live in you. May our ordinary moments refract the light of your transcendence that others may see and know you, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Most liquids contract when they freeze. Water is one of the few exceptions. I don’t remember enough from my high school science classes to tell you why this is so, but I see God’s creative hand at work. If water behaved “normally” many bodies of water would freeze solid. Instead, lakes freeze from the top, enabling fish to survive below while kids play hockey above. How cool is that?

From → COVID-19

One Comment
  1. Robert Jandeska permalink

    As water freezes it traps air molecules increasing its displacement and reducing its density. Thus, frozen water (ice) floats on liquid water.

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