Frailty Becomes It
Much to the non-delight of my daughter, Kate, who’s 8, the front porch of our house has lately become a flurry of new construction—in the form of spider webs. The image above is a recent photo I snapped, trying to capture the linear, delicate beauty of one particular spider’s house.
As a Christian minister involved at a few intersections along the streets of Christian-Muslim relations, I make it an occasional habit to read the Muslim scriptures, the Qur’an. This reading is as much for the literary effect as for the theological possibility of discovering commonalities and clarifying differences. So, as I saw the spider web dangling tenuously on the front porch in the morning breeze—its lines barely visible—my mind downloaded these parable-like lines from the Qur’an.
Those who take protectors other than God can be compared to spiders building themselves houses—the spider’s is the frailest of all houses—if only they could understand. Qur’an 29:41
The verse is, of course, more like a simile or metaphor. And one question inherent within the lines is: To whom or what do we turn when we need ultimate refuge, if we are apt to seek it at all through the brokenness or stubbornness of our lives?
Like the spider’s house, most standard-issue cultural options put before us—and dangling there—seem quite frail and temporary notwithstanding their relative attractiveness.
There truly is a sign in this for those who believe. Qur’an 29:44