In the last week I have published several articles that talk about the way we view the world and the dirty devices of the secular work that tend to distort our view of reality. Today I have been thinking about the fact that it is not just the secular world that distorts our view of reality.
This morning after my encounter with rats, I met with a friend whose faith has grown and stretched in the last few years. We talked about how when we become Christians most of us enter a black and white world. Faith seems so simple. We know exactly what we believe. We know what is true and what is false. We know exactly who Jesus is and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. In this world, we cannot imagine that encounters with rats could possibly have any spiritual significance at all. Our eyes and ears are closed to what God might want to teach us in a situation like this.
Then we realize that the world is not black and white at all. It is full of vibrant colours, colours that can change depending on the light, or angle from which we view them. Dark clouds filled with foreboding can suddenly become a brilliant rainbow of red and yellow and blue. Leaves that were green are transformed into splashes of red and gold and sunsets turn white clouds pink.
Suddenly are eyes and ears are open to sensations we never experienced before (a little like the blind man who first saw people as trees walking in Mk 8:24)). The foundations of our faith are in upheaval. Some of us become insecure, others lose their faith because the black and white world they were comfortable in no longer exists. Others rejoice in the discovery of colour and love a faith that has becomes an exciting journey of discovery, an adventure to uncover the hidden colours in a sunset and to unleash the breathtaking beauty of a rainbow.
So what does this have to do with rats? In this new and brilliant world of colour and light, as the Celtic saints of old have often reminded me, every encounter entered into and every activity undertaken is an opportunity to learn about the God revealed in Jesus Christ. So we go out into the world to look and to listen, to learn about God and even the rats can be our teachers. And that is very humbling.