Denominational polity battles are to me a lot like having a pack of cigarettes in your pocket: you know they’re bad for you, but as hard as you try, you eventually get bored or distracted enough to let yourself indulge.
I stupidly squandered my afternoon reading the various arguments and counter-arguments surrounding a couple of cases withing the PCA, the denomination I call home, and found myself increasingly tired and discouraged. Trying to clear my head, I threw on a jacket and took a walk.
The birds have been heeding their internal clocks and are moving back through my part of the country. A flock of ravens in the trees across the street were bickering in a shrill, discordant dialog, none seeming to listen to the others. I couldn’t help but form unfavorable mental comparisons. I grew angrier and angrier with the birds, the inescapable analogy making me wish for the spiritual equivalent of a 12-gauge, just to clear the air.
I was about to storm back inside when the snowflakes started falling. Big, unbalanced snowflakes, glutted in the clouds until they could drink no more and then slipping down to the earth. The air around me was suddenly thick with them, and I couldn’t look away.
The ravens kept on arguing, oblivious to the bounty of the heavens, but I couldn’t really hear them anymore. A blanket of swirling silence was cast. I smiled and looked up at the heavens and took comfort.
It’s not so much that the snow falls on the wicked and the righteous. It’s more that the snow falls – in heaps and waves and eddies, as far as I can see. There are a million million snowflakes for every screeching raven, and confronted with that magnitude of scale, perspective changes.
The Lord is good. The Lord is on His throne. All the bitter invectives of all the misguided saints of all the churches in the world are covered by His mercies, a million million mercies for every angry tongue and every breaking heart. Stop for a moment, and lean against the porch railing. Hold out your hand and watch the mercy melt into your skin.
I’m licking snowflakes off my lips. I nod to the ravens, and I smile.