Friday, August 19, 2011

Completeness

Do I dare post these theological snippets - little thoughts?  There's a risk of blather.

The Gospel in the Psalter is contained in one word - completeness. One becomes complete in the exercise of mercy, the same mercy which is exercised towards all through that promise of covenant by God.

Completeness is explicit in the sign of circumcision - walk before me and be perfect. (Genesis 17:1) Perfect has the wrong connotation for today's English - complete implies the finishing of the work of creation in each and all of us. The word is the same as that used in Psalm 19: the instruction of יהוה is complete תמימה and in verse 14, then I will be complete איתם

There is a kind of fractal nature belonging to the reality we are born into and called into. Each word, snippet, or story, fits into a pattern and the patterns repeat in recursive forms. So circumcision and exodus recur in Joshua at the crossing of the Jordan and prefigure the completion of the work of Jesus as formed in the poetry of John. Same patterns, same participation by individual and tribe and people, same birth into the fullness of covenant, same pain and writhing, same need to be caught by the Midwife.

The canon leaves open the possibility of extending and refining these patterns as they find their recursion in our lives. No cheap or explanatory answer is to be accepted. This does not undo the requirement for accurate research, but the patterns need to be lived, in depth, not just examined or described. We cannot escape our bondage any other way.

Great books born from great sin reveal these patterns also - e.g. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill - which I have just finished. (Not all books are great. One of our $.50 marvels I tossed in the garbage. A forgettable title.)

So how could those first earthlings be complete? Only when they were clothed by יהוה God. How could they become clothed? Only when they had exercised their mythical choice of disobedience. How could they disobey? Only when the subtlety of the sleek serpent deceived them. How could deceit enter the very good created order? To resolve the issue of being alone. Is one earthling who is alone in the image of the One who created it? This is, perhaps, where what is 'not good' arises.

The pattern of completeness can be seen in the 'one flesh' of the earthlings created in the image of the One who is 'chanted above the heavens' (Psalm 8, Deuteronomy 6:4). One might complain that this is a pre-lapsarian situation, but 'the fall' is overrated. Now, given that we are in the situation of the knowledge of good and evil, a covenant of blood (death of an animal, circumcision, Passover, death of Jesus = circumcision of the Gentiles) allows each and every individual to be known by יהוה God and therefore to participate in the completeness noted above in Psalm 19.