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Work Another Network

“Don’t be afraid… Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes…” (2 Kings 16-17)

Ahab and Jezebel voted Elisha least likely to succeed as prophet. No wonder — he neglected the basics; he neither believed in himself, nor did he ingratiate the powerful. He annoyed pagan dignitary Naaman, by keeping quietly at home, speaking only through his servant Gehazi.  Distrusting princes, (Psalm 146:3) Elisha worked another network.

The old University of Chicago Divinity School library, in its last year of use when I arrived there as a student in 1980, included human-sized angels (I wanted to say life-sized, but who knows what that is?) carved in the rafters, so that they stared, as though interested, at those who studied below. Though the infamous medieval debaters could find the head of a pin room enough for angels, no architectural room could be found in the massive, de-spiritualized Regenstein Library that succeeded it — “noted for its brutalist architecture” according to Wikipedia — forecasting, as expressing, the homelessness of God?

Renowned University of Chicago Philosophy professor and editor of the Great Books of the Western World series, Mortimer Adler, was once asked in all that vast survey, what was the most important idea? He answered, “angels”, displaced or not by his school’s architectural progress.

I miss angel oversight as achitectural reminder, amidst concrete brutality, that all we do, or do not, stands under heaven’s gaze.

The sight of Aram’s army blinded Elisha’s servant to God’s fiery chariots. But Elisha saw with spiritual eyes and wished for his servant, “O Lord, let him see…” Elisha’s hidden God also arises on our horizon.

So, work your network until you connect with “the more …” Who doesn’t need a little transfiguration?

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