Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Everything Speaks : Pocket Inventory : 2
Everything speaks. Everything speaks: of life, or death, or simultaneously of life and death. Everything tells us: there is a real choice to be made, with real consequences: choose life: choose what nurtures life in all its wonder and beauty: say ‘no’ to death – not literal death, for literal death is swallowed-up by life for those who choose life; but symbolic death, everything that diminishes the wonder and beauty of life.
I thought I’d do a pocket inventory, of the things I carry with me, the basics I take wherever I go, and ask: what do you speak to me?
These things are: my phone, my keys, my wallet, my watch...
In my left pocket, the smoothness of my phone; in my right pocket, the jaggedness of my keys.
Keys unlock things; and lock them against hostile entry. (Car keys also turn on the ignition; but I don’t drive, and so my car keys are purely for unlocking/locking the car, so I can let the kids in, so I can fetch bags of shopping from the boot).
Jesus says to the church, I give you the keys to my kingdom. They are, I imagine, a set of keys on a ring: and each key has a dual purpose. So, the key to forgiveness both opens-up forgiveness to people and sets them free from the constraint of un-forgiven wrongs, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by others. So, the key to healing both opens-up healing for people and sets them free from the constraint of sickness. So, the key to endurance both opens-up the capacity to endure and sets us free from the consequences of our inability to endure. So...it goes on.
The keys in my pocket are angular, sharp; eventually, they wear holes in my pockets, so that everything else falls through (is no longer contained, or constrained). On occasion, they stick into my thigh. Or, when my hand is in my pocket, they jab at my fingers. I am aware of their presence. And their presence is often an inconvenience; as well as, from time to time, a necessity. But if I forget to pick up my keys as I head out the door, I find myself in a place where I am foolishly unprepared, unable.
My keys speak to me of the doors that Jesus wants to unlock to people, and secure for them. Moreover, they tell me that these things are often unlocked through pain: a fistful of keys speaks of a crown of thorns. They tell me that the cost of the kingdom is inconvenient; that the presence of the kingdom is disruptive. And yet, just as I cannot live without literal keys that have been given to me, to enable me to go about my daily business, so I have been given kingdom keys...and if I go out without them...