In conversations lately about spirituality or Church, I have often heard – and occasionally said myself, “It feels like something is happening…” That’s a rather bland statement that is generally followed, however, by examples of an energy that cannot be easily explained but is felt as a growing thing – where people are gathering to discuss the newly recognized convergences of science and spirituality or a discovery of something Thomas Merton said 50 years ago that now makes sense or an exploration of the Gospel of Thomas…It is the same hopeful sense that St. Augustine had almost 2,000 years ago, that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Wanting to participate in that nearness of God is likely what drew millions of people to the streets to see Pope Francis pass by in Washington, DC and New York City and Philadelphia. It touched people in the Congress, the United Nations Assembly and the families chosen to represent us in Philadelphia. It brought tears to the eyes of people watching those events on television as surely as if the Pope were in their living rooms. Clearly we want more of God in our lives and in our world.
This is the same arising that I think Paul knew when he said to the Romans and to us this morning, “I consider the sufferings of the present time are as nothing compared to the glory to be revealed for us. For creation waits with eager expectation for the revelation of the children of God.” (ROM 8:18-25) I am disappointed in that text which used to say that “all of creation stands on tiptoe to see the children of God coming into their own.” Jesus knew it could happen – this bursting forth of the Kingdom of God in the world – when he compared it to a mustard seed or yeast, small and imperceptible at first but in the end the largest of all the trees or the impetus for the dough to rise to full capacity. (LK 13:18-21) Where are we now? How close to the revelation of God in our time? What are we doing to “bring it on?” Have we forgotten how to be so eager as to stand on tiptoe to see it revealed?