Wednesday, August 26, 2015
telepathy and telekinesis ... in real life
There is a very clear message in today's readings. It is found in the OT reading, the NT reading, AND in the Psalm! So when I got to it the third time, I was like "OK, God. I hear You."
That's one way, incidentally, that God speaks to us. When you see something repeated throughout your day, from one situation to the next, it might be part of the "curriculum" that God is using to speak to you. It's not necessarily true... you need discernment. Just because you see a picture of someone killing their sibling and then watch a movie about fratricide and then hear your coworker talk about the guy in the news who killed his sister... that doesn't mean God is telling you to kill your sister. In fact, anytime you think God is telling you to kill someone - get a second opinion. (Hint: it's not God telling you that.)
But God does use repetition in our lives to teach us. And today, He uses it to teach us about the power of the written word. First, in Job we find the title character saying: "Oh, that my words could be recorded. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument, carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock." Job is feeling like his life is fleeting, and that his suffering will be forgotten. It might be a literary device here (since Job is one of our oldest recorded stories, and a "play" of sorts) but whether an actual, literal man named Job said these words (which were then, ironically, recorded) or if the great playwright who wrote Job wrote it to communicate the need for our lives to be remembered... either way, the power is there. We have a deep need to connect with others, both in our lifetimes and afterwards, and to be understood and remembered.
Then we have the famous line in 1 Corinthians where Paul forgoes his emanuensis (a sort of secretary) and writes, "Here is my greeting in my own handwriting - signed, Paul". Why was it important to Paul that his readers see his handwriting? Once again, he wanted to connect to them, to be understood, to make that connection between mind and mind that we humans have been blessed with in the form of language.
Then we come to the Psalm. The Psalmist writes "Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart." Not just one allusion to writing, but two! This is where it became apparent to me that I should write about writing today. Here, the Psalmist is using writing in two very powerful and distinct ways. First, telling us about the power of Scripture. The Bible is given to us as a gift, not personally hand-written by God, but written by His servants, inspired by His spirit, over the course of the centuries. It is a great gift - the same gift that we give to one another when we write. The gift of ourselves. When I write to my friend (as I'm doing now, writing to you) I am sharing the contents of my mind with your mind. I am transcending the material world and the thoughts in my brain are coming into contact with the thoughts in yours. Pretty amazing. And God does this in Scripture. He gives us His revelation - allowing us a glimpse into His mind. That is awe inspiring, when you think about it.
And then he goes on to talk about the second kind of writing, and that is God writing his instructions on our hearts. This is also an amazing gift, the giving of a conscience that allows us to know right from wrong, to know what we should do, because of His directions directly "on our hearts", which is another way of saying in our minds. Not only does He give us the gift of Scripture to speak His thoughts into our minds, but He goes one step further and writes His words directly into our conscience.
Stephen King, in his book "On Writing", talks about how the writing process allows us to experience telepathy and telekinesis. I'll give you an example of what he means. I'm at this moment sitting at my laptop, at 2:37am, in Dallas. I write the words "The girl ate a red strawberry and wiped the juice from her chin." Now I have taken an image from my mind and put it into yours. Across space and time. You are NOT sitting at my laptop in Dallas, and it is no longer 2:37am. But you have the picture in your mind of a girl wiping strawberry juice from her chin, just like I do. A form of telepathy. For telekinesis, just raise your right hand right now. If you did it (I hope you did) then you could say that my mind just used the written word to cause your hand to raise, across time and space. Pretty amazing, huh?
Now think about how God can do the same thing for us. He wants us to love Him, and to love each other. Those are the two big commandments, according to Jesus. And He gave us these words... which take the thoughts and feelings of His mind... and put them into ours. Divine telepathy. And He can even move our hands and feet to do His will... when we see our brother in need, and we help them. What we do for the least of our brothers, we do for Him... and He does through us. Divine telekinesis.
Thank You, God, for words.