Not the strange fruit/cereal.marshmallow and chocolate concoction…
An odd few days… sun can be shining where we are but just down the road someone else can be under a cloud- or more likely, we are dry under our umbrella, but they are being rained on.
Last week, as we all slid out of the daily evensong service in the monastery’s house chapel -we all stopped in delight as the most enormous and complete double rainbow framed the whole sky outside the monastery door. Standing there beneath it, one couldn’t help but recall the flood story and God’s promise to Noah -and so that rainbow, the biggest and most perfect I’d ever seen, felt like a kind of promise, a blessing on this place of prayer.
There was a time when I would have, despite my professed faith in God, dismissed such a rare colourful treat as a nice coincedence of meteorological factors… as though God didn’t bother to involve himself in such constant background tasks as weather, instead allowing them to run on some kind of pre-programmed wash-cycle. I’m not sure what I thought God concerned himself with -perhaps exclusively the machinations of the human mind… a very Gnostic and limited view of a Deity, but understandable I suppose when so many of us are introduced to faith or religion as some kind of opinion or cerebral choice.
My father is a scientist, mathematician and physicist… a self-pronounced Agnostic…but over the weekend, in conversation he began to unfold his philosophy (his words) to me… it was about an order to the world -but an order of complexity that relied upon things too great for the human mind to compass… it was about recognising the infinite magnitude of things that must somehow be held in precisely the right interrelationship, from the level of quantum particles downwards and upwards… in an incredible, miraculous way that the human mind could not close around but must remain in wonder at-as he spoke I was agreeing, this was shared understanding approached from two different places: ‘yes dad,’ I agreed, ‘infinite complexity, held and sustained in its existence -the whole universe recreated moment to moment… you are absolutely right…’ It was a moment of rare, shared excitement… followed by a moment of slight bafflement on my father’s part as I said: ‘You are a Mystic, dad.’ I could hear him frown -so I added ‘Truly you are -and from me that is a compliment.‘ I could tell that made him grin a little as he signed off. I really meant it, and I think he understood that perhaps he was.