Covenant Zone bloggers invite our readers to join us every Thursday in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9pm, in front of Blenz Coffee. We wear blue scarves to identify ourselves. Why do we meet? Because we wish to participate in renewing the covenants that bind us to our city, nation, to each other, to ourselves, families, and, for some of us, to God. Covenanting is about re-creating or re-presenting what we already think we know in relationship to what we cannot yet know about human existence in history and eternity:
there is a creation that mystifies and a creation that reveals, and the latter is identical with the former. Except that the mysterious creation, the one infinitely far back in the past, is the one that Job has heard of but cannot directly see (The Book of Job, 42:5). When the infinitely remote creation is re-presented to him, he becomes a participant in it: that is, he becomes creative himself, as heaven and earth are made new for him. He is given no new discovery, but gains a deeper apprehension of what is already there. This deeper apprehension is not simply more wisdom, but an access of power.- Northrop Frye, Words with Power (1990), 312-3.
Myths of a paradise lost in the past or a hell threatening us after death are myths corrupted by the anxieties of time. Hell is in front of us because we have put it there; paradise is missing because we have failed to put it there.
When we become intolerably oppressed by the mystery of human existence and by what seems the utter impotence of God to do or even care anything about human suffering, we enter the stage of Eliot's "word in the desert," and hear all the rhetoric of ideologues, expurgating, revising, setting straight, rationalizing, proclaiming the time of renovation. After that, perhaps, the terrifying and welcome voice may begin, annihiliating everything we thought we knew, and restoring everything we have never lost."