What We Shall Be

From Mystery to Mystery…

1 John 3:2-3

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

A mighty oak tree grows large in size and bulk, outstretching its massive arms to cast the life below it in shade. And, yet, it puts forth as its offspring the small and humble acorn.  Such a nut looks whole and sufficient unto itself.  It is pleasing to the eye, with its smooth, round, tapering body and its darker, textured cap as its head.  Its likeness is used for adornment in furniture and works of art, a motif that is readily recognizable.  And it is also useful just as it is.  An acorn is a delicate and delicious food, with a pleasing, soft crunch, that is sought after by squirrels, pigs, and humans alike.  And, yet, we humans don’t delight in the eating of an acorn as much as we do other nuts from other trees and plants — perhaps, because we know the full identity of an acorn.  From the mighty and noble oak does the acorn come — and to the future destiny of a mighty and noble oak shall the acorn go, given the right conditions.

Like acorns are we.

We are small, but seemingly whole and sufficient unto ourselves. There is harmony in the human shape and form.  Our looks are pleasing to ourselves, the most beautiful among us lauded for their beauty.  And we can be very useful, too — to ourselves and our fellow human beings, as well as to other life forms on our planet.  Imaginative and industrious, we seem to fulfill our purpose as a species by our individual and collective accomplishments.  Yes, we are different than other animals, but it seems as though we are just more highly evolved animals — more refined nuts.

And, yet… yet this is not the fullness of our identities.

In our present earthly forms, which are beautiful and strong, creative and productive, it is easy to think that this is all that there is of us. Difficult is it to think that we are the sons and daughters of God — for God is, surely, far too infinitely mighty and eternally noble to put forth such offspring as us.  Yes, we are wonderful — beautiful and strong — but, we are mere creatures, small, finite.  How can we possibly be children of God?  If God had a form, it would reasonably be so completely unlike ours that the kinship would not only be unrecognizable, but also dubiously unbelievable.

Yes. Much like the acorn’s kinship to the oak tree.

And, further, to think that, as children of God, our destinies are to become like God… well, who can reasonably believe it?  And, yet, we know that “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

This is not about the science of seeds. Nor is it an encouragement to think big.  My meditation here is upon the wonder of “what we shall be…”.

We have a tendency to think of our individual destinies or legacies in terms of forms that we readily know and understand. It is not uncommon to think of immortality in this way.  We think in terms of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, stretching on in generations of descendants after us.  Perhaps, we wish for fame — recognition of our names and/or images by people a hundred, hey, a thousand, years from now.  Or, perhaps, we wish to leave as a legacy some great work — a nation, a charitable foundation, a scientific breakthrough, a revolutionary invention, etc. — that will beneficially shape the future for countless generations.  For this is how we know the great people of the past and how we are grateful that they ever existed.  In our blue and green sphere, spinning in our Milky Way, in what is knowable to us of the universe, these futures are what we can logically aspire to while knowing that they are rare.

But… what if our earthly forms, through which we can rationally know and understand other forms, are not whole and complete unto themselves. What if they come from Mystery and are made to become like Mystery?  What if the fullness of our identities are orientated toward something greater than what can be known in the physical realm — toward Someone greater, toward The Mysterious One, who is God, our Source and our Ultimate End?  Should we then be content to be mere adornment and food for bodily forms?  Is the whole of human worth self-pleasure or usefulness to the knowable universe?  Or… is there Something More?  Are we Something More?

It would be easy to live one’s whole life as an acorn, and never recognizing the parent Oak, and never striving to become like such a tree ourselves. Thus never recognizing and never striving, we will never allow the right circumstances to take place that will open us up to the fullness of who we are.  We will remain ignorant.  And we will die in the shell.

When death comes to us, and the confines of the finite drop away, will we see God as God is — and in seeing God as God is, will we then recognize God’s love for us, our kinship? Or, will we think, in that glimpse, in that last moment of earthly forms in which we have staked all of our future, “Wow, what an amazingly resplendent Oak tree!  Too bad I’m just a nut” and never stretch out our arms to our Father?

Unpublished work © 2014 Christina Chase

 

 

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