“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, the possibility of life is destroyed,”Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace:
This was one of the quotes we recently reflected on at my weekly, Theology on Tap, at Kelsey’s the other night. I think anyone can be reflective after a beer or two, or a glass of wine or two. Of course Tolstoy is playing with the word life. Ruling by reason is the concept that life – all of life is contained by what we think or more specifically prove empirically. Tolstoy of course is hinting that there is more to life than just what we can prove or what makes sense in a materialistic only universe. There is vast unseen world out there. To use that old cliche, there is more to life than meets the eye, like, cars. We can see cars. We can take cars apart and discover how they work, but what we cannot see is why anyone gets in them and drives them. You cannot see a thought. what you can see, like a car is the result of thinking. Reminds me a little of what Jesus said about the spirit. ” God’s Spirit blows where ever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it is going.” John 3:8 CEB What Jesus missed is that we can see where the wind blows. We can see the results of a violent wind, though we cannot see the wind itself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word sacrament lately. The old definition, probably close to the Westminster Shorter Catechism mixed with my old Roman Catholic roots defined a sacrament as a visible sign of an invisible reality. For me the greatest sacrament is Jesus. You thought I was going to say the Lord’s Supper, but the Lord’s Supper is not the greatest sacrament. The Bread and the cup are at a minimal meant to be a visible sign of the invisible reality portrayed by Jesus who is also the visible sign of the invisible reality known as God the Father. These are great examples of the truth that there is more to life than meets the eye..
We cannot see faith, but we can see the deeds that are driven by faith. It is the same with love. You cannot see love, you can only see the effects of someone loving someone else, like Jesus as the effect of God loving you and me. Is a sacrament the same as empirical truth? Does Jesus as a sacrament prove that God loves you and me? I think I’ll let the logicians work that one out. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the Spirit blowing across my face, and looking at and listening to Jesus to see the face and hear the voice of God.