Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Belated Lectio: Epiphany 3 (25.Jan.04)

Reading: Luke 4:14-21“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (vs. 21)

Till you've walked the Hero's circuit, it may seem only a faint shadow-play. Like Robert Frost on his divided road, we often don't recognize the nature of the path until we've walked it a ways. By which point, it may seem too late. For "the path of life" is such that it's often challenging (if not impossible) to turn around.

But, perhaps I am being too obscure, or elliptical. Perhaps you don't buy into that whole Joseph Campbell Hero with a Thousand Faces stuff. Yeah, maybe you tossed out the Hero with "the Collective Unconscious." But still ....

Movies would not work, would not entertain us, if we did not identify with the characters on some level. And these characters work because they fit different personalities so well. Field of Dreams, for example, would be meaningless if most men had uncomplicated relationships with their fathers. It is popular, and meaningful, to any man who fears becoming like his father.

I have come to believe that The Bible contains every variation on human interaction, relation, and emotion possible. The stories speak to us because we have experienced something very much like them at some point in our lives. There will obviously be stories that don't mean anything to us because we have never experienced something like them.

For example, the story of the Israelites in the Wilderness may mean little to a person who has never felt adrift in his or her life. Likewise, the story of the Resurrection may have little impact on a person who has never experienced a dramatic "rebirth" sort of experience in her life. Finally, any story of healing may have little meaning if we have never been healed; or — more to the point — felt the need for healing.

I suppose this to be the way in which "the scriptures are fulfilled".

The Old Testament reading assigned for this past Sunday was from Nehemiah; it tells the story of the recovery of the Torah. We are told that the people rejoice, even though they recognize the difficulty of living by Torah Law. First, they rend their garments (because they see how they've fallen short of the Law); then, they dance in celebration, even as David danced before the Ark. They rejoiced because they recognized themselves in the Torah. Scripture is not complete until we have lived it in some way, or seen how it pragmatically applies to our daily life.

As we shall see, parts of my life have resonance with Biblical archetypes. No doubt other archetypes apply as well, but these are the ones with which I am familiar. So, the Wilderness is a reality for me — I lived through one. While I have not experienced a clinical "near death" experience, I have had a variant life-and-rebirth experience, so I can accept the Resurrection at least in that way.

Blessed are you, Divine Storyteller,
you unwind the string of our lives
you guide us through the maze
which is not a maze
Blessed are you for meaning
assumed or real, it doesn't matter
it keeps me walking.
Blessed are you, Heavenly Father
Blessed are you, Divine Mother
Blessed are you, Sacred Singer
Blessed are you for singing my heart
Blessed are you for breathing new life into me
Blessed are you this day and evermore
world without end

What are some "archetypical" stories you have lived? If you share them on your web-log, please provide links in the comments below.

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