Early one morning I brave the remnants of a wild windstorm to walk the Millboro Road. The winds are still strong, but they have blown the cloud cover away, and the sun sparkles just above the horizon. It’s uphill at first, and into the wind. I have to turn my face sideways just to breathe when the gusts come whooshing down the wind tunnel of a road.
I am alone, save for a crow in the bright blue above a cropped field. I cannot tell whether his flight pattern is one of frustrated aim, or whether he is leisurely giving himself to the dive and bluster overhead.
I know if I just keep my head down and my legs moving, I can make it to the top of the hill, and the way back will be smooth sailing. I needed to be out here this morning. I know there is a glory here for the taking, the wild glory of blue and eastern light.
My hands are getting cold. I put gloves on before I left, but they are not enough. My singular fingers cannot sustain their warmth in this wind. I should have worn mitts.
I think of this small thing – that fingers stay warmed when they are together – and the words of my morning reading come to mind:
“Expressed in the act of creation is a will for community.”
(Clark Pinnock, Flame of Love)
Yes, even the cold of a November storm shows this to be true.
Creation is not only beauty to be enjoyed in solitary walks, or raw material employed for individual gain. Creation can scare us to death when it rips the the shingles from our roofs and topples the landmark trees.
Rare is the man or woman on this spinning globe who survives alone.
The wildness of weather, the danger of mountain and ocean, the fear of what prowls in the night, the epic struggle of man vs. nature – all this drives us to community. For shelter, for safety, for survival.
God created a world that would not suffer singularity gladly.
The same glory that calls and draws us up the golden hillside sends us running for mutual cover. Creation necessitates community. A handful of people may gather, gather and thrive.
By the handful we are warmed. By the handful we must learn to love.
This is the Creator’s desire; He who created out of an overflow of interpersonal love wills us to know His way of being. And so His masterpiece is crafted naked and lonely, surprisingly fragile in its image bearing.
This fragility, these howling fiends . . . Not a sign of neglect or nefarious dealing. No, this need was woven in from the “in the beginning.” This need nudges (hurtles!) us in the direction of community, where need that is spoken and shared and jointly borne opens a space for love.
Together we see our Creator’s grandest design. Together we learn what this power of love is, who God Himself is. We learn who we were meant to be.
I see it, here on the harvested hillside. I feel it, in my chilly fingers, in the wind now at my back, pushing me down into the valley. There the smoke from our chimney is caught and lifted to the northeast. Within that humble outpost against the elements are the other four members that make up my own pocketful of family. Just one hand, needing another, and another, needing to join in the circle around the fire.
The fire dances and warms, lighting our faces with divine recognition, linking hearts with one another and the powerful mystery that brought us all into being – the Creator’s will for love.