As Close as We’ll Ever Be

The poet and philosopher Rubem Alves writes about the idea of writing a story or a novel with just one word. Could it be done? What word would he choose? Which words has the power to tell the whole story?

Of a singular word Emily Dickinson wrote, “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and look at it, until it begins to shine.”

And Samuel Beckett spoke about the “literature of the unword,” which I would argue is the story of silence, or the story of nothing, or the story of chaos, or the story of the formless and void, which Scripture affirms is Christ, not only the maker of all things, but also the author, and the holder. Essentially Christ is reality, chaos, and silence. Christ is the story. Christ is the one word.

And when we tell our stories we’re essentially telling His. Mysteriously the stories are one and the same. We could even say our stories are the transubstantiation of the Gospel. For in it Christ is mysteriously present–he is with, over, under, and in our stories.

Which is why our stories (our lives) are so important, because all stories, fiction or real, poetic or musical, painted or drawn or built are the flesh and blood of humanity’s chaos, of the Spirit’s breath, of God’s kingdom here and now.

Why do we look to world events, to presidents, and new trends when the silence of the new heaven and new earth are right in front of us? That is the saddest story. That is the tragedy. For some cry out, “God I want to be closer to you!” without ever realizing they’re as close as they’ll ever be.

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