By Chuck Griffin
This crisis in which we find ourselves seems so exhausting, I think, because thoughts of it lurk somewhere in our minds all day. In my case, it’s as if I have an annoying tickle in my brain.
The tickle is chronic enough that I actually notice when I’ve not been thinking about our situation for a short time. That moment usually comes in the evening, when Connie and I take time to watch a movie or a favorite television show, or if I read a book of fiction. For just a little while, I get lost in whatever story is before me.
As you might expect, I spend a lot of time in the Bible, but the tickle doesn’t really go away. The lessons of Scripture are usually so applicable to this viral outbreak and our fears that I cannot help but place the verses in our current context. The tickle remains, although I’m grateful for the answers the Bible gives regarding how to live in such times.
There is some “escapist” literature in the Bible, however, and I want to encourage you to find it. I’m going to point out a favorite one of mine—in fact, it’s so out of this world that some people avoid it. I prefer to relish it.
To get the full picture, you’ll need to read at least the first three chapters of Ezekiel, although you will miss much if you stop there. This essentially is a prophet being called to his work, but in a most unusual way. If you’ve read much science fiction, the story can border on readings from that genre, although we are to understand it as a symbol-filled vision of God, who cannot be adequately described with words.
There are angels in the sky, steering what look like wheels within wheels, carrying above them the likeness of a throne. And then there is the vision of the throne and the one upon it:
And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was something that seemed like a human form. Upward from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all around; and downward from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendor all around. Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendor all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
There’s so much more in Ezekiel. I’m simply trying to encourage you to take a little time apart from the world today. Read it. Get lost in it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m also curious what Bible stories you might consider escapist. By that, I mean you get so caught up in them you forget everything else for a time. Feel free to post your favorites in the comments section.
Lord, we thank you for the power of your word: its power to teach, its power to comfort, its power to enliven our imaginations. Amen.