Thirsty Hart

Crazy people

on January 12, 2018

BambergApocalypseFolio010vWorshipBeforeThroneOfGod

I love the Bamberg Apocalypse, an old manuscript with particularly endearing illustrations.

A friend, still well-saturated with a modern secular view of things, pointed out that religious people are, as a rule, crazy. It makes being religious a bit shameful. One can try covering it up by being ‘spiritual but not religious’ or muddling around in vaguely non-religious religiosity, but those explanations don’t hold up to actually becoming Christian. “Hey, off to Mass…I’m just spiritual, not religious…but, you know, um…Sunday…um..mumble, mumble…I mean, I think I’ll just run to Starbucks…” [bolts out the door].

I would defend Christians as not crazy, but I don’t think it’s true. There’s a beautiful lady at Mass every morning who waves her rosary in the air like a thurible, increasing the intensity of the waving in union with the intensity of the ceremony. During the Consecration she’s zinging that rosary back and forth like a skilled altar boy, and it makes that nice clanking sound the altar boys practice so hard to get just right. She may be crazy. But you know what? If you get to heaven you’ll surely find her right there at the throne of God:

The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming: “Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.” (see Revelation, Chapter 4)

Rosary-whirler’s sidekick (related only by eccentricity) always arrives during the offertory and putters about touching the feet of the saints’ statues. She spends the rest of Mass kneeling in a pew, clutching something in her hand. She never takes Communion. Lord, have mercy on her. I hope she’s right there with rosary-whirler.

I beg Him welcome, too, the twisted accordion player begging in the street below my window. Lord, have mercy. May they be among the saints, Lord, these wounded, sick, wretched, poor, miserable ones.

Eli and Samuel

Samuel tells Eli what God said. 

But I think ‘crazy’ is just as often used to mean a thousand other things than ‘mentally ill’. Like “God calls me, too, but that terrifies me…’. I loved the reading the other day where God calls Samuel, and no one freaks out about that fact (there’s later freakout about other things, but not about God calling). (From 1 Samuel, Chapter 3):

The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

It’s more common to freak out, I think.

If you haven’t caught on yet my blogging tends to be short-lived lately, and prone to fits of radical destruction. Enjoy while it’s happening again.


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