f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Writing the Spirit—Approaching the Supernatural in <em>Reverend Nash</em>

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, December 12, 2003

Writing the Spirit—Approaching the Supernatural in Reverend Nash

Jordanna Nash sits in her car outside of a congregation member’s house. The disappearance of the wife of this family has just come to light and it’s a tragic end. Jordanna has come to the Nearings straight from an almost impossible meeting with the parents of a pregnant teenager. This is what being a pastor is.

Of course, Jordanna would go in. It was her job to comfort the bereaved. There was a service to plan. This was what the congregation paid her to do. Abby had told her once, years ago, that she couldn’t fathom having a job in which death difured so heavily. It was worse than being a doctor. At any time, any place, someone could die and you’d be brought in to tie it all up, to enter the room most people couldn’t wait to flee. Jordanna had tried to explain that it wasn’t like that, that it was an honor to be invited into people’s lives at their most significant junctures. A kind of irreducible, pure truth suffused though and action after abject loss. In the pas few years she had wondered if the meaning of her having lost the babies was to draw her closer to the grief of others. But now she looked across the soaked sidewalk. The flower beds were floating. She wondered how to will herself from here to there. She felt no call to go into the Nearings’ living room. Her need to stay in her car, to drive to her house, to sneak into her bed, seemed the true call.
This isn’t supernatural, not really. It’s just the narrative line of one woman’s thoughts. And yet the supernatural can’t be too far away, at least if we believe in a personal God who can access and respond to our very thoughts.

Look at what you see here. You have a woman about to go help a young family plan the funeral of their mother and wife. You have her almost reminding herself of the reason she should feel blessed by the opportunity and you have the concurrent need to flee that nests in all of our hearts, for the most part, when faced with the worst of circumstances.

This is the inner dialogue that fills our lives. What we don’t hear is God’s response. Often, in CBA Fiction, there is the still, small, italicized Voice that represents the prodding of the Holy Spirit. No such divine reassurance comes for Jordanna. Some would say she’s not in tune with the Spirit in her life. Others would recognize that, in their own lives, that still, small voice does not speak with such authority.

This is a small moment from the book, but nicely rendered. At the very least, it makes us question the reasons why we speak with God’s voice in our books. And do we truly? Are the words we put in the Spirit’s mouth His own, or are they our best wishes. This is a great mystery as, at the heart, we are all alone with God before the throne and alone with God in our thoughts.