Jesus used real-life metaphors to teach us how to live the spiritual life. He spoke of wine and bread, wheat and coins, seeds and harvests. He so often said “The Kingdom of God is like…” and then launched into something which had much more to do with farming than church.
My dog Kai is named Kai because it is short for Kairos – a Greek term for the time in which God lives – in a state of constant love and playful creativity. This time runs alongside chronos time – the time in which we live with clocks and schedules.
Kai will often look at me and will, for a moment, seem to be able to convey a love I usually only associate with God. And I wonder what to do with that. God’s uncreated light shines into and around our lives even in the middle of the night when we awaken at 3:00 am with the worries. Scriptures call this time of night “the third watch” because it was the third watch at 3:00 am which kept watch to keep the city safe from invaders.
Kai does that for me, or seems to. But I also know that Kai is, in this case, only an icon, an image of what God is doing – looking at me with deep love, some concern and a clear intention towards assuring me that all manner of thing shall be well – starve, disappointing, hard, wonderful – well. We all have these icons of unconditional love – a person, a hand-written note, a photo, a memory, a phone call. What is important is seeing how creatively God shows up. Yes, in bread and wine – but also in many other physical forms as a wink in the darkness – a wink which says “I know…it’s hard…even scary…but be sure of this one thing…I am absolutely crazy about you …my face is at the back of your neck…always…even when you sleep and cry…and if you turn around too fast, I will steal a kiss.”