The other night I found myself cracking open an old book from my German Lit. course I took last Spring. I was introduced to Rilke via tons of his poetry and his book Stories of God. I’ll be honest, as much as I loved him, I did a lot of skimming last year just to have time to accommodate all my homework. Two nights ago, however, I had some free time (rather, I couldn’t sleep at 2am) so I decided to start reading it for real.
Early Morning Musings
The first story I read was called The Tale of the Hands of God, and I loved it. It’s essentially a story about God and Creation. It starts with God creating the world, just as the Bible describes, but when God gets to creating man, He becomes so focused that He takes His eyes off the world but quickly has to leave His hands to create man while He tends to the rest of the earth. In the process, the hands begin to quarrel and they accidentally let the first human fall to earth before God sees him finished. Rilke makes the point that these hands did not have God with them and “without God there is no perfection.” I love that. He goes on in the story and says that by the time God looked at man, thousands and thousands of years had passed by, and by then humans were so distorted and changed that God was given a bad impression of man, as they were hidden from Him. The story teller urges the other characters to show God what man is really like through music and art and worship.
God is all-knowing, and knows us so intrinsically that we can’t even begin to understand, but what a great concept! Shouldn’t we try to show God what humans are really like? How He originally created us to be? Our world can give such an ugly perception of humans to our Creator, and we need to do what can through any talents we are given to show how beautifully He created us. We need to just bare our entire being to him so completely that we are utterly unrecognizable to the world and completely familiar to Him in our original, intended state: in constant worship and connection with Him.
A lofty task indeed, but I think we can work our way to it through constant worship and prayer. It shouldn’t be hard to include our Father and Creator into every moment of our day, but we have allowed ourselves to become so false and concealed that we don’t necessarily have a good idea of how God intended us to live, except through Scriptural guidance. Step one? Crack open that Bible and see where it takes you.
I just loved what I was able to get out of Rilke’s writing, it almost felt like a devotional when I was reading and thinking about it. If you haven’t read his work before, I highly recommend it. You could probably find it really cheap online or in a used bookstore. Check it out!