There is peace on the earth. The iconic image that hangs in my room is called Peace, Peace to the Earth. Like some liturgical element that we've come to count on within the context of a Sunday morning. The Latin phrase that adorns the icon is something like: M N Y M N P Y. Which to my lizard like mind says "many men pee". It is the perfect thing really. The ridiculous, the sublime. Humans are binary that way. Both magnificent and desperate beings. We come from the earth, to the earth we return.
Maybe that's what really matters after all. The peace we return to the earth, we carried it all along. Sublime. Latin letters. Then there's the ridiculous, the eye catching a glint of gold overlay on the iconic art that says "men pee". We are both spiritual and physical. Both lizard and king.
Once I was reading the Nicene Creed in church, that favorite chunk of liturgy that can stand alone should the pastor show up without a sermon. Sometimes the Gospel reading or Psalms are the lynch pin of the service, but usually through some wise interpretation. The Creed, however, stands alone nicely. It is fully explained. There's no need for deep interpretation. You either believe it or you don't. Sublime. But there's this part, "He has spoken through the prophets..." Beautiful. Whether it was lack of sleep or a daydream, or something else, I don't know, I read it, and it came out of my lips, "He has spoken through the gophers..."
Needless to say, I couldn't finish the rest of the creed. Tears formed and my body lurched and gasped to try and hold back the laughter. Even now, years later, we get there and a smile forms on my face as I read it. Prophets...Gophers. The two words look kind of alike. And there it is again. We are, all of us, borne of both spirit and dirt. Both prophet and gopher. Maybe it wasn't the lack of sleep that revealed it, perhaps the Holy Spirit made me see it because there wasn't enough laughter in church that morning. Or maybe it's to remember that it's better to be a gopher considering the words of a prophet than the other way round.
In the end, it is peace to the earth that we can, at our best, hope to bring. Though it does not originate in our hearts, it can live there for a time. Until, that is, we're through with it. When we, at our best, return to the earth from which we came. And lay there at last the ridiculous. "Many men pee". "He has spoken through the gophers".
May some laughter in your liturgy of your life hold back the darkness, or even better, make it possible to deposit it once and for all where it belongs...in some forest deep. Peace. Peace to the Earth.