The Unknowing


When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us — Exodus 32.1

I CAN’T REMEMBER a time in my life when I was not grappling with church and church history. As a child, I knew Christ but I often strained to try to see him through the tall legs that seemed to be so many then, stretching up towards the up-turned boat ceilings of St Illtyd’s and St Mary’s churches or the mighty roof of Brecon Cathedral. I didn’t like Sunday School and I hated the smell of fake coffee and lipstick and the loud guffaws of the giant ones. I literally ran from stodgy and dry sermons about some well-dressed, well connected establishment moralist, whom I could not equate with the Galilean vagabond I met in the pages of my Bible and in the daffodil-dreaming prayers of my heart, whom I loved so much and wanted to follow into the light or into the deepest, darkest dark. Either way didn’t matter to me because I simply knew he’d already gone there ahead, though he felt so close.

Later, I travelled with him on the roads and rough-tracks of Europe and then I fought the Romans, the Empire-simpering Reformationers and anyone else who obscured and distorted the Christ I knew in every fibre and cell of my body and being. I wrestled with them in the free-mind University of wild, west Wales…oh I fought and screamed into the mountain wind.

But I heard sweet whisperings of church long ago that moved through this very land, like mist, like beautiful, un-named truth. I read the sparse-word wisdom of desert ones who seemed to know the One whose fire burned in me and they opened doors for me in the mist I hadn’t even noticed were there. I loved them and I love them still. And I know these mothers and fathers of faith were/are church. I still struggle with churchhh. Every day. Sometimes I wake up with the fight nagging on, other times I fall asleep with it. It makes me so restless, until I return to the Peace.

When did the church get tired of waiting for the Christ to come down from the mountain? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t need to know. Because all the time, in the world, in hearts of disciples, within the church and without, there is also and always…the unknowing…

Let the idols of religion fade, and melt and break. Shake their dust from your sandals and behold the Christ Who Is.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on October 22, 2017.

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