The word that is sticking out the most to me as I work through Wright’s (1) material this week, is leitmotif. Merriam-Webster (2) defines the term as such:
1 : an associated melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person, or situation especially in a Wagnerian music drama 2 : a dominant recurring theme
It is this idea that God has incorporated, in not only the story of his people Israel throughout history, but also in each and every one of us – a repetition of exhile and homecoming, of jumping off the ship and getting pulled back into the lifeboat, and of his people contaminating his creation and him putting it back together.
As Christians, we cling fiercely to this leitmotif of hope. God will come again and rescue us out of despair. It is the backdrop of the great psalmists and poets, and the inspiration behind much of the worship that captures our hearts. Yes! God will come again and make right the wrong. He will tend to his garden again. He will (and can) cause the withering stalk of our lives to produce flowers. From the ugliness of our relationships and our decisions, he will create beauty.
I must start including this term in my vocabulary, and certainly in my thoughts. I am on the lookout for leitmotif, for the reocurrance of the great restorative themes of God.
(1) Wright, N. T. Simply Christian: Why Christian Makes Sense. San Francisco: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006
(2) “Leitmotif.” Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. 12th ed. 2008.