The Gift of Weeping
This is the sixth in a series by our writers and guests regarding spiritual gifts. We hope you enjoy our take on giving and receiving spiritually this Christmas season.
I turned from the computer news feeds, heavy with the nausea that has plagued me all day, and fled to my book. Surely, wrapped in my favorite soft blanket I would find solace in the depiction of a God who weeps with us. The past seven days has seen one of the most dramatic roller coasters of my life, with a crisis of faith that exposed the raw loneliness of my childhood, followed by an extended fast in search of the God who talked to Jared’s brother, and a miracle that was so specific that my soul has settled, healed in profound ways. Perhaps I will tell that story one day, but today, exhausted from the day and the week, I fled back to these poetic pages to remember that this God I love is truly engaged with humanity.
Taught of highest things by the weeping God, Enoch becomes the weeping prophet. His experience of the love that is indiscriminate in its reach and vulnerable in its consequences takes him to the heart of the divine nature. … Enoch’s encounter with God, his vicarious experience of infinite love, serves as a template for the path to heaven he — and all of us — hope to follow. That this path has as its end a communal heaven, not a solitary salvation, is clear by the vision’s end.
In the midst of Enoch’s pain, God commands him to “Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look.” Only then does he see “the day of the coming of the Son of Man.” Recognizing in Christ’s advent the greatest work of healing and redemption, “his soul rejoiced.”
At the last day, the ultimate consolation, and the shape of heaven, are revealed. (p.105-6, emphasis added)
Terryl and Fiona Givens go on to describe the joyous meeting of heavenly beings as they descend to meet heavenly beings still living on the earth, and “the immense distance between the spiritual and the mundane collapses.” Heaven is familiar. Indeed, weeping, which has endured for the night, flees like shadows in the face of the inevitable morning. It is joy to which we will ultimately turn our tear-worn but hopeful faces.
In the meantime, however, we weep. And so does God.
Jacob, at bycommonconsent.org, has written with visceral emotion about this weeping we do as humans willing to be bound together. Sweeping us along with Ivan Karamazov and Dostoevsky, we say with him: “If this is heaven, this grinding grief, here is our ticket back — we don’t want to go there anymore.”
With the Givenses, however, we acknowledge that a ray of hope beckons.
A modern revelation, speaking of spiritual gifts, notes that while to some it is given to know the core truth of Christ and His mission, to others it is given the means to persevere in the absence of certainty. (p.122)
We take “Peter’s tentative steps across the water” in faith, bearing this gift — the gift of God’s own nature — to weep.