Here is the mystery, the secret, one might almost say the cunning, of the deep love of God: that it is bound to draw on to itself the hatred and pain and shame and anger and bitterness and rejection of the world, but to draw all those things on to itself is precisely the means, chosen from all eternity by the generous, loving God, by which to rid his world of the evils which have resulted from human abuse of God-given freedom.
~N.T. Wright from The Crown and the Fire
Inundated by overwhelmingly bad news of the world,
blasted 24/7 from cable TV,
highlighted in rapidly changing headlines online,
tweeted real time to our pocket phones from every nook and cranny~
We cling to the mystery of His magnetism for our weaknesses and flaws.
He willingly pulls our evil onto Himself and out of us.
Hatred and pain and shame and anger and bitterness
disappear into the vortex of His love and beauty,
the dusty corners of our hearts vacuumed spotless.
We are let in on a secret, the mystery revealed:
He is not sullied by absorbing the dirty messes of our lives.
Instead, once we are safely within His depths, He washes us forever clean.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil…
And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.
-Wendell Berry “To My Mother”
Something woke me at 4:45 AM: perhaps the orange glow bathing my face. Never one to miss a light show, I heeded the call and obeyed.
Once outside, I watched clouds boiling – shifting and swirling in unrest as if something or someone may emerge momentarily.
Just early morning bird song oblivious to the turmoil.
Within a minute, the heavens settled and so did I, no longer entangled and dismayed.
Yet for a moment this morning, I did wonder what might become of us all.
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
~Mary Oliver, The Sun
On this day of transition
we stand together, wavering,
on the cusp of light and shadow~
this knowledge of a now diminishing sun
rests heavy in my bones as I struggle
with letting this glorious light
slip through my fingers~
I stand empty-handed
as I attend to less important things.
As darkness begins to claim our days again,
I seek to rise like a full moon
illuminating the long night,
burnishing my readiness for eternity.
Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things – in merely doing kind things? … he spent a great proportion of his time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people.
There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping. But what God has put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.…
I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are. How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered.
~Henry Drummond from The Greatest Thing in the World
Like Time’s insidious wrinkle
On a beloved Face
We clutch the Grace the tighter
Though we resent the crease
People are more than just the way they look.
~Madeleine L’Engle from A Wrinkle in Time
Just a glance in the mirror tells me all I need to know:
these creases I see remind me
each wrinkle is grace in action,
so tangible, so telling, so mobile –
they multiply particularly when I smile
so I must smile more often.
I won’t hide them
nor tighten them away
or inject them smooth.
Instead I’ll grin at the wrinkle of time’s passing
knowing each line gained
is grace clutched tightly
in my otherwise loosening grasp.