The labyrinth, and prayer, and the presence of God in all the world.

Last Sunday at Journey, we walked the labyrinth at a nearby park. (They didn’t have a labyrinth; in true Journey creative fashion, one of our Elders borrowed a chalker from a friend who runs a softball field and just made one!) As we walked, there were poems and quotes to ponder as we made our way toward the center and back out again. And as I walked it, I found myself meditating on two phrases.

The first was part of a poem by Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about
Language, ideas, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

I walked toward the center of the labyrinth, where communion was waiting, and I just breathed this like a prayer as I made my way toward it. And then, after a little traveling, I came to a sign with this poem I shared in our liturgy the previous week from Kabir, called The Clay Jug:

Inside this clay jug
there are canyons and
pine mountains,
and the maker of canyons
and pine mountains!

All seven oceans are inside,
and hundreds of millions of stars.

The acid that tests gold is here,
and the one who judges jewels.

And the music
that comes from the strings
that no one touches,
and the source of all water.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

And in only the way that can happen when you allow words to choose you (rather than believing you are capable of always choosing them yourself), my feet began to walk in a rhythm between these two deeply beautiful truths:

The world is too full to talk about. The God whom I love is inside.

The world is too full to talk about. The God whom I love is inside.

(and then like a shout!)

The world! is too full! to talk about! The God! whom I love! is inside!

(and then like a whisper, moving back toward silence)

the world is too full to talk about. the god whom i love is inside.

I feel this way so often these days, that the world is actually too full to talk about. I’ve mentioned to a few friends that I think I’ve actually become far less eloquent these last couple of years, because when I say anything, I feel overwhelmed by the paltry limits of words to convey what I feel and what I sense to be true about things. It’s so beyond words, and what a preposterous and strange calling it is to be someone who writes about it, all the while being absolutely convinced that the words are just rubbish and hogwash and shadows compared to the thing itself. God have mercy on us as we write with nothing but hologram words. We are clay jugs, really, and that’s on our best days.

The world is too full to talk about.

And the reason the world feels so full, of course, is because the God we love is inside. INSIDE this world! Can you even?! Inside all of these things, and undergirding all of these things, and embracing all of these things. Running through all the things! All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of stars. And the music! The music that comes from the strings that no one touches.

Sigh.

I really cannot say anything more about this, except to repeat as a prayer, as a celebration, as a declaration of beauty, these words once again:

The world is too full to talk about. Friend, listen: the God whom we love is inside.

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