On our very first day in Ireland, when our nascent jet lag was quickly worsening, we visited Knowth, a section of Neolithic monuments found in Brú na Bóinne. They’re some of the oldest structures in Europe. Neat, right? And internally, the structure of the tombs looks just like this:
There’s a cross in the very center of the tomb, which was very possibly a religious meeting place for the ancient Celts. Accident?
I think it’s like those proteins in your body, Laminin, that hold you together on a molecular level – they’re cross-shaped, too. The very structures that keep your body connected and functional reflect the very thing that keeps us connected and functional.
And I don’t think that these burial grounds are a coincidence either, because I don’t believe in coincidences.
There are repetitions in life, things that cycle over, and why should we pay attention to them if they aren’t meaningful? This symbol might have been just another way that God prepared the hearts of the Celts to receive Him, like in the case of St. Brigid. (Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints and also the name of a triune Celtic goddess. The saint used this connection to help explain God to the people of Ireland.)
He’s left his marks all over this world, and he’s actively moving within it. And I forget! How could I? But the last time I prayed was last night, asking God to help me get some sleep. Like there’s nothing more important to talk to God about. He, and all of Christianity… It’s so important, so powerful, and so deep, like ancient magic, as Aslan would say. And we undermine it. Thinking of the violence in Ireland between Protestants and Catholics is heartbreaking, because both claim to be Christians, but they’re killing each other over religion! Of course it mostly has to do with the English/ Irish hostility, but it’s always summed up as Protestants vs. Catholics. And God is bigger than that. He’s bigger than squabbles, rituals, cathedrals, and we humans who try to get to heaven on our own. And thank goodness, because who would be willing to serve a small god?
I’ve seen the Avengers twice now, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, they were awesome, and it was fun to see the dynamics of the new team, but they also brought up a lot of interesting questions about power, kingship, and who is fit to rule – especially with Thor and Loki. I was acutely reminded of the brothers, Edmund and Edgar, in Shakespeare’s Lear. One of the very first things Loki says (after killing a few people) is that he’s come with glorious tidings, to free the people from freedom. And that sounds awful.
Later on, in Germany, he proclaims that “it’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation”. And although this is coming from the mouth of a crazy, villainous, mass-murdering Norse god, he’s absolutely right. It’s true. We will always serve something, no matter what – ourselves, our jobs, other people, our obsessions. We are never free. That’s terrifying. But here’s where Loki twists it. He wants to be the one to rule, and that isn’t right either. That is what serving a small god looks like.
In response to Loki’s adamant declaration of power, an old German man refuses to kneel, saying that we weren’t meant to be ruled by men like Loki. And that’s precisely right. Yes, we were made to serve, but not just anyone. We were made to serve a perfect, living God who loves us more than we can imagine or reciprocate. God doesn’t look like Loki, or even Thor, even though the “god of thunder” points out that a good leader understands he is not above his people. Thor was right about ruling, in this case: a ruler can’t think himself better than his subjects, because people should be treated equally, and power in man’s hands quickly becomes corrupt if not wielded with humility.
But God is no tyrant, and He is better. He is what’s best for us. It’s not prideful, because it’s true. It’s beautiful, how he rules. And it makes sense why we can’t be Him, and why we are hard wired in our very cores to serve. We yearn for God, and not just to serve as a slave, but to love and be loved as a child.
Read this: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17
King Lear, or any of the history plays… or tragedies, for that matter…
See this: Avengers!