Friday, October 26, 2012

bigger than a stained glass jesus

this prince of peace
The church, Fiona knew, was the red brick Lutheran one whose two-story tall stained glass Jesus overlooked the state highway below it. It was only a few blocks away, a five- or ten-minute walk she’d made hundreds of times. The hill that the church stood atop was a favorite sledding spot. She, Dane, and Chance had gone to Sunday school there and learned their small catechism as well. Dane and Chance had also been confirmed there, but she hadn’t been able to work her way through all the confirmation lessons because, frankly, it hadn’t mattered all that much to her.

The God she met at church struck her as small-minded and while others credited Him with all manner of miracles and glories, she didn’t see anything around her that needed omnipotence to explain it. Oh, but look at the sunrise, some would say when she shared her doubts, or the delicate colors on a butterfly’s wing. Feel the warm cheek of that little newborn there or breathe in the perfume of those beautiful blossoming flowers there, they would say offering her proof of their faith. She didn’t deny the beauty in the world, was willing to even to see it in a humble little miller moth lit up by kerosene heat, but the true glory in all these things lay not in their creation by someone who didn’t exist, but in the simple fact that they lived. Life was omnipotent, it was everywhere, and it was never jealous.

She knew life was bigger than God. We all came out of the swamp at some point, she thought and up onto the land. Then we stood up and took a look at how rich in life the          
swamp came from here
world was, here on Earth, sure, but on all the Earths around all the suns throughout all the galaxies as well. Life was huge—bigger than any stained glass Jesus—and it didn’t ask us to worship it, it just asked us to live it. Her grandpa’s poems—the bigfoot revelations, she called them—the ones he sent to her ten years after he disappeared, confirmed that her vision of the world was the one she’d been born to.
Chance didn’t like her to talk about life being bigger than God. “He’s jealous, Fiona,” Chance had told her the last time she’d shared her thoughts. “He broaches no discord and Jesus may suffer the little children but God doesn’t gladly suffer fools. Pagan fools talk the talk you talk.” So she’d stopped talking that talk, just to appease Chance; but not talking didn’t mean she needed to abandon what she knew life was.

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