“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” TS Elliot

T.S. Elliot penned the famous line in Four Quartets,“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”   What is it though that we cannot bear?   Matthew 25 speaks right to it ….

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Powerful line, a reality hard to bear.  Finding God in weakness?  Finding God in the stranger?  Finding God in the sick and imprisoned?  Finding God in those we are most likely to reject?

And note who are the ones who do not get it.  The very ones who should … “the righteous.”   One reads this passage and easily imagines clergy oblivious to the unsettling call of the Gospel that the finding of God is not purely “in here” but “out there” in the margins of a world seeking resurrection.  Such subversive thought redefines salvation.  ”… all people who do what is good as a religious practice, not only Christians but non-Christians, are accepted and adopted by the Lord after they die.” (True Christianity, 536)

A life giving reality check.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply