Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I am Jack's Melted Face

I've got the worst headache, and I'm tired, and I have to get up early in the morning to teach, but I just have to write. I've been putting it off.

I've been reading 1 Samuel this week. Faithful Hannah feverishly prays for a son, and her gift-child at age twelve recognizes the voice of God more clearly than Eli, the high priest of Israel does. Then Eli's evil priest-sons are killed violently in battle because they asked for sacrificed meat to be roasted instead of boiled. And Eli falls off a rock and breaks his neck when he hears the news. Granted, he didn't fall off a rock when he first learned of their meat-roasting habits, so he kinda had it coming.

In the same battle that Eli's sons are killed, the ark of the covenant is captured by the Philistines. God's people mourn because they think His presence has been taken from them. The Philistines think they're hot stuff for having the ark until the rats and the tumors start popping up. I personally picture Arnold Schwarzeneggar as a rogue Philistine telling some young innocent, "Eet's naht a ... ok, eet ees a TU-mah." They end up sending the ark to four of the five Philistinian cities as a test to see if cancer-carrying vermin continue to pour out. By the time the ark nears the fifth city, the people are outside waving their hands and wailing to be spared of the ark--please don't send us this God.

The concept of the ark of the covenant has always fascinated me. God had his people build him a gold box for a house. The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark gave me nightmares in eighth grade. All the melting of faces and stuff--ew. (Hmm, Kevin talked about melting faces this week, too...) And then I read about the return of the ark to one of the towns on the outskirts of the promised land. As kind of an afterthought the author explains God's judgment. The ark returneth verily and greatly unto the people of Israel. There was much rejoicing and ... oh yeah, He melted the faces off 70 men who looked inside it, too.

And sitting on my front porch, I nearly choked on my coffee--half because I didn't remember the melting faces actually being in there, and half because I would've been one of the ones to look. It's not in the holy museum. It's just in this guy's house. I'm a chosen one. He's my God, why wouldn't he want me to look? Okay, so he told me us not to look, but surely he didn't mean me right now in this situation. I can already hear the excuses. I mean, just look at how many times I typed the first person pronoun in this paragraph! It's all about me. I think about me. And italics. I think about italics, too.

NPR's All Things Considered had a special report today about the scientists who discovered a persistent low-frequency hum in the mid-70's. Two non-Ivy league astronomers won the Nobel Prize for discovering the 15-million-year-old residual sound of the Big Bang. It was science's first physical evidence for all of life coming into existence in a single moment. Interestingly, they also cite it as evidence for all of life eventually ending apocalyptically in a moment. They interviewed one of those astronomers who had this to say about their conclusion: "When you've eliminated all the probable possibilities, then you must conclude that the least possible is the most probable."

Can't you just imagine the power that must have unleashed in that moment when the dark void first heard the words "Let there be ..." Couldn't the universe have replied with a primal birthing scream that was so powerful we could still hear it today? Wouldn't that have been the birth of sound itself? Systems of harmonics yawning and flexing their newly-found muscles?

A God that overwhelming--a God that ancient--asking His people to build him a little ark. All of a Big Bang God in a box. That'd be enough to melt anyone's face off.


Rachel said...

Loved this post! No one can ever accuse the Bible of being boring. The meat boiling, the rats and tumors, the gold box. George Lucas couldn't have come up with this material.

I also heard that NPR story. Too back they couldn't even come up with an original quote - that one belongs to Sherlock Holmes (aka Conan Doyle).

Primal birthing scream - loved it! I think you're on to something there.

Andronicus said...

...Another good one by the SUZ! Thanks for the new post, as one of your regular readers, I grew restles for a new post. Viva La Suz!

Suzanne said...

"When you have eliminated the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of Four

That which is probable and impossible is better than that which is possible and improbable.

I will never believe that god plays dice with the universe.
--Albert Einstein

Always be a little improbable.
--Oscar Wilde

thanks for the tip, rachel. you were right, and it got me thinking and surfing for others. so, do you just walk around with a quote dictionary in your head? what's the story on having the complete works of sherlock homes memorized?

thanks, andy! :) did you see your blog in my sidebar? i promise to fix it so it actually goes to your site. i'm not very successful yet at manipulating my html.

Rick said...

need to send this post to everyone you see who's living life like they've got God in a box :) - "you'll melt your face off!!!!"

Rachel said...

No, don't have a quote dictionary in my head. =) But actually, I DID read both volumes of The Complete Sherlock Holmes just last year. They're at Barnes & Noble. Sherlock is such an iconic character in our culture, but I hated that I had never read a single story. Once I started, I couldn't stop. They're great (and most are short enough to read in a single evening). And Sherlock, ever fond of deductive reasoning, recites the "eliminated the impossible" quote rather often to his dear Watson. You can't help but memorize it.

I love the Aristotle quote too!

your mom said...

Suzanne, you're intellectually gifted. I'm amazed at your eloquence and insight. I know that wasn't the purpose of the blog--to show this off--which makes me appreciate you even more. Keep it comin'.

Anonymous said...

when i saw the "i am jack's melted face" i thought this was going to be about jack black's face melting guitar solos.

imagine my complete lack of suprise.


american girl said...

Loved your post. I'm glad to see that your question about time with God has paid off...and you've given us readers food for thought in the process. Wonderful.

What a great God...He not only put Himself "in a box" for Israel, but made Himself man for us...unfathomable, this unspeakable gift.

Andronicus said...

Yah, Suz, thanks for adding me to your "sidebar".......and it works now too! Sorry i couldn't go to Star Wars with you cats...i haven't seen it yet either! Goulet!

Suzanne said...

thanks for stopping by, american girl. glad you liked it.