I’ve finally got round to reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and am thoroughly smitten by it.
As someone who tinkers every now and then with writing fiction, I find writing of this quality both inspiring and utterly foreboding. However, the wisdom in this book seems even to trump Robinson’s beautiful prose.
I’ve been pondering recently how we, as Christians, should view this world. The Bible seems often to encourage an attitude of dis-attachment, ‘to use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them’ (1 Corinthians 7:31). However, the question persists, how can we love the world like God did, when he sent his son, while also deciding not to love it or anything in it, as John tells us to do (1 John 2:15)? I’m definitely not at the end of these ponderings, but I’ve found nothing as helpful up to this point as this section of Reverend John Ames’ fictional memoirs:
‘I know this is all mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can’t believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of procreating and perishing that meant the whole world to us. In eternity the world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don’t imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try’ (Gilead, p 65).