Brian’s Reflection: Friday, August 1, 2008
Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from
these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.
- Herman Melville, author (“Moby Dick”), born on this
day, 1819, in Manhattan
Well, what’s a guy to do?? “Brainy History” says that Melville was born on Aug 1. Another website about biography says he was born on Aug 19th. As usual, I invoke writer’s privilege! And wouldn’t that be a great title for a book - Feeding Among the Tombs!
It is easy to say, We are going to die. What does anything matter. Dick Cheney and others of his ilk are reported to have said it, sure of the “rapture” and therefore not caring about Life Now.
In a sense, Christianity is a religion/faith of the tombs. It unflinchingly immerses itself in death, the death of Jesus. It’s principle symbol combines the powerful symbols of Death and Life - the Cross: a crucified Jesus hanging on an almost eternal symbol of Life. The Cross symbolizes the intersection of Heaven and Earth where Life explodes into Being.
It is without question, in my mind, that Christianity gathers her most vital Hope from the Cross - from feeding among the tombs. There it confronts the utter reality of mortality - and from that contemplation Christianity and Christians understand that God is all about Life. The Resurrection of Jesus is the blazing fiery conflagration around which Christians gather. Christian liturgy is an astonishing drama where the Cross stands at the core, utterly surrounded and hemmed in and contained by the shouts of Thanksgiving and by the vision of Eternal Life and by the Defeat and Banishment of Fear. Christianity finds soul mates in other Faiths too.
Death is a phantom. A boogeyman dangled in front of us to crush our instinct for Living. Embrace Death, call Death Brother/Sister. Live by Hope. Hope is but another word for the unquenchable reality of Life and Love.