Friday, August 7, 2015

Even the sparrow finds a home,
          and the swallow a nest for herself,
          where she may lay her young,
     at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
          my King and my God. 
Psalm 84:3
Wait! Aren't the altars in the churches? Those special tables where the high and holy priest works her magic... aren't those the altars?

Of course they are not... Not any more than sacraments or holiness or any other uncontainable, unmanageable, wild thing of God.

The Christian religion would like you to believe that the body and blood of Christ are in the church, on the altar. They would like to manage the sacraments for you. There's no need to pursue a broken open, bloodied, unpredictable and sacramental life when you have an institution which can do it for you, after all. And if the church can manage the sacraments for you, then they can use those sacraments to manipulate you. Smart people fall for it all the time. I did. It's all so neat and clean: the seven sacraments, all with a special liturgy. It's orderly. That's appealing, isn't it? Sure, because if God is organized then life makes sense. Good on you if you can live in that kind of delusion. I mean it. Live the dream as long as you can. But sometimes there comes a thing called reality.  If you live in the real world it is not hard to see through the Sunday sham. Neither God, nor our lives are organized, predictable, or neat and clean. Altars do exist, but they are more than tables in churches. They are the areas of stillness where sparrows lay their young. The vulnerable, feathered, small, and unnecessary are safe at the altar. I don't think you'll be finding that much in church. I can hardly think of a more spiritually dangerous place than the institutional church. But if you can sit quietly, you might find an altar closer than you think.

This is also the day when shining stars and sea monsters are commanded to praise God, so if you're a star or a sea monster...

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