Today at Morning Prayer I had a bit of a inner warming when we read the beginning of Psalm 19. It starts:
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
And I thought: there’s the perfect refutation to the fundies, to the unbelievable arrogance that says words can encapsulate reality. I know a bit about poetry, and I know that good poetry points beyond itself to a truth that is beyond words. Good religion, spirituality, truth—telling, call it what you will, does th esame. It points beyond to something that is beyond belief, but something that can somehow be perceived subtly, dimly, by that open attitude some called faith.
in the 1920s a Mayor of New York City said that nobody was ruined by a book. I doubt that anyone was saved by one either. Words can be like that infamous Zen finger pointing to the moon, they can head us, open our hearts to reality. But the farther I go on the journey, the more I know that reality – and life and love and mystery and anything else worth looking at and risking for – is bigger than we can ever understand.