Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a God who transcends

It was 6:12 a.m. and I was already 12 minutes late for my  meeting with God. Instead of my usual routine of opening my Beth Moore study to where I had left off the previous day, I felt a quietness,

a sort of hushing of my soul.

Isaiah 6 was the whisper I received.

I knew this passage--this story of a prophet whose beloved king dies. This prophet, whose heart still grieving, lifts his eyes and has one of the most mystic visions recorded of God on his throne. This prophet, who gets to eavesdrop on the melodies of heaven.

For me, I cannot read

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

and not be raptured into scenes of my past, into moments of corporate worship in a small church-on-a-mountainside, jubilant praise vibrating from the crumbling bricks. Our biggest, blackest mamas would step up, led by the Spirit, and lead us in the chorus that comes directly from this scripture. Our singing of the refrain, 

"holy, holy, holy is the Lord" 

would build and build with each word, each syllable, until the very frame of our building seemed to beg for mercy under the weight of such expressed glory. I was only 7, maybe 8, but moments like those were the cracks under the door of worship through which I would peer, intrigued by the promise of more, the promise of Something Bigger, Someone Bigger, to know someday. 

So I spent the next ten minutes singing that song, trying to lift my eyes a bit higher that morning. I wanted to let God be God and not just my means to a prayer-request-fulfilled, which is far too often all that he is to me.
I thought about death. How, for Isaiah, it took the physical death of a hero in order for him to receive the fullness of God's holy nature. How, for me, it has taken the death of dreams, the death of ambitions and false-identities to truly lift up my eyes and see Him.

Six hours later, I received a call from Mom.

Grandma had just died.


We thought she had more time.

God knew. 

God knew that "on the day my Grandma would die" I would lift my eyes and think about heaven more than I had in a long time. He knew I would imagine myself at the threshold of the throne room, the place Isaiah envisioned, the place my Grandma freely crosses. 

He knew I would like an invitation to join the angels singing the refrain of heaven, 

to join my grandma as she sang,

perhaps for the first time, fully-present, 

along with the holy ones, an eternal chorus. 


God blows my mind.

Only he, in his compassionate wisdom, could take something as sad as my precious grandma's death and  infuse the grief with one more moment with her, with one more promise of the fellowship to come.

I am reduced to the state of a little girl, only 7, maybe 8, whose belly rubs the floor, eyes straining to see through the cracks of a door. The melodies and lights and promise of heaven are bleeding through, under the threshold, faint silhouettes of those loved and lost, the glory of a King who will reign forever. 

For now, that's all we get. Brief moments of revelation, of Reality-to-Come breaking through to our muddled existences.

For my grief, for my perspective, for the attempt to live on purpose with my days left from Here to There,

I'll take it.

"holy, holy, holy is the Lord"

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