When the eternal begins to brush its wing edge against the everyday, what does it look like?
The drawings of Da Vinci manage to fuse dust and wonder. They are sepia, his materials probably formed out of the brown clay around him. These he uses to peel back the surface and draw the raw eternity in a bone, the arc in the movement of an arm. He studies bird flight, designs flying machines, the shape of a wing, hoping to make visible the invisible – the way flesh and air and force result in soaring.
A wing is a miraculous thing – able to brush against the invisible and push, to get lift. But the mechanism isn’t the cleanest. When my children used to pick up feathers I’d wash them. They were often dirty, and could carry disease. Our culture and our media make it difficult to avoid brushing a layer of glitter over the surface of the real, clothing angel and messiah in tidy-white packages.
Making the invisible visible
So how do we draw the Holy Spirit waiting in the shadows, eternal life hatching in the churning events in Palestine, over thousands of years? Look at the preview: Slaves, death, burning, plagues, all of these are in the central timeline of the Messiah. Luke sets the scene in his gospel: There’s a hush, and the stage is cleared, and angels drop into view, and speak. The air is disturbed, and the tiny bones in a girl’s ear move, and she hears.
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28
Where and how do I expect to see God enter into the everyday?
Where have I actually felt the brush of the eternal, the wingtip of heaven?
Am I waiting attentively? Are my ears open?
Dear Lord, this Advent, speak in the hush of your presence. Help me to hear in a new way the details of this remarkable story, and to hear your particular word for me.