Monday, July 07, 2008
There is nothing but God’s Grace. We walk upon it; we breathe it; we live and die by it; it makes the nails and axles of the universe.—Robert Louis Stevenson
A few Sundays ago, in church, I heard something strange during the quiet parts of the service. From a few rows behind me came a steady pulse of click-whoosh, click-whoosh, click-whoosh.
I had no idea what it could be, and I fought the urge to turn around and scan the congregation like a five-year-old. As I listened harder, I realized it was an oxygen machine. By now it had my full attention—not that it was very loud, but its rhythm settled in my head and grew there, like a mental itch. Click-whoosh. Click-whoosh. Click-whoosh. It filled the spaces in the vicar’s reading of Romans.
Then it hit me that this was the ideal counterpoint for a worship service: Better than any organ music or any choral arrangement, here was an audible illustration.
So I listened to the perfect sound-metaphor for reliance. The clicks and whooshes preached me their own sermon, about the complacency I’d walked in with, about the self-sufficiency that I think, sometimes, I have found. And every rush of air challenged my illusions about what, by my own strength, I can attain.
Perhaps I should bring my own oxygen machine next time.—jl