“The Back of the World” – A Commentary by Scripture

“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world?  It is that we have only know the back of the world.  We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal.  That is not a tree, but the back of a tree.  That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud.  Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a fact?  If we could only get round in front—–.” [1]

Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory!” The LORD answered: I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, “LORD,” before you; I who show favor to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will.  But you cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live. Here, continued the LORD, is a place near me where you shall station yourself on the rock. When my glory passes I will set you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face may not be seen.[2] Ex 33:18-23.

The back of the world is the back of God’s Glory, God’s presence among us…

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?… Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? Mt 6:26-30

We fail to see the interaction of the Father with His creations, feeding and clothing even the least of them

Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Mt 10:29-31

Indeed, he has intimate knowledge of each, watches over each and has a plan and an hour for each.

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Mt 6:31-34

It all comes back to “unto,” “Be it done unto me according to Your will.” Lk 1:38  To fulfill all righteousness is to submit to the plan of God for the salvation of the human race.[3]

Inspiration comes more truthfully and naturally when it comes “unto” me rather than me being in restless and relentless pursuit of it, trying to gain it artificially, as it were….there is a poverty of my spirit and a recognition of the gifts of The Spirit that interplay and are reciprocal, one preparing to receive and the other being ready to give.  Even this gift is given for giving, not for owning or hording or retaining.  We must hold all things, material and spiritual gifts from God, loosely, for I am but a steward for a brief time and must watch over, care for and give forth as the Owner directs me.

[1] G. K. Chesterton, “The Man Who Was Thursday (New York, Worldview/Perigee Books, 1908/1935), 176.

[2] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[3] Note, Mt 3:14-15


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