The Interior of the Soul

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There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
~Victor Hugo

 

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What possibly can be grander than the depths and wildness of the ocean or the expanse of clouds and stars above us?  Our breath is taken away by the sea and the sky — always and every time.

Yet that breath was given to us, breathed into our very soul by the living God in His desire to create us in His image.

That is grand beyond imagining.  His breath within us, filling the interior of our souls.

 

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The Heavens Boiling

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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…
~Isaiah 64:1-2

 

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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”

 

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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.

No trumpets.
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.

 

 

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To Balance Upon a Broken World

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Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the
Stooks arise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what
lovely behavior
Of silk-sack clouds!  Has wilder, willful-waiver
Meal-drift molded ever and melted across the skies?
~Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Hurrahing in Harvest”

 

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This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.
~Amy Lowell “September 1918”
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Am I the only one who awakes this morning with a prayer asking
that today be a day of healing between peoples rather than conflict and pain,
that the barbaric become peaceable~
no missiles launched,
no one gunned down in the streets,
no vehicles used as weapons,
no child misused,
no one sold into slavery,
no one abandoned, homeless and starving.
Am I the only one who awakes this morning and seeks only
to watch the clouds
to praise the heavens
to see the leaves turn color
to take out this day and taste it
and save it away somehow
so as to balance myself on this brokenness all around?
I am not the only one.
I know I am not.
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Invisible at Daybreak

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

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On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity, they sank down
into the mud, faded down
into it and lay still, and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.
~Galway Kinnell “Daybreak”

 

We know the stars,
heavenly or terrestrial,
still shine there, though made invisible,
hidden in plain sight at daybreak
yet throwing sparks,
ever eternally lit,
in the dark.

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photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

 

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The Permanence of Light

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

….a lesson about the permanence of light, finding its path when every course would seem blocked, and when even its source has long faded… 

An older woman comes upon a child looking at the stars. She tells him that it’s taken eons for the light to come this far. The boy asks if you can tell which stars are dead and which are living.

“No,” she answers, “it’s impossible. Still, what a beautiful mystery that is.”
~A. J. Harmon from “Good Letters” on patheos.com

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

The stars come up spinning
every night, bewildered in love.
They’d grow tired
with that revolving, if they weren’t.
They’d say,

“How long do we have to do this?”
~Rumi

 

Hammered Dome

 

photo of the Nooksack Cirque by Josh Scholten
photo of the Nooksack Cirque by Josh Scholten
photo of the ice melt, the origins of the Nooksack River at the Nooksack Cirque by Josh Scholten
photo of the ice melt, the origins of the Nooksack River at the Nooksack Cirque by Josh Scholten

At the foot of the cirque,
where the ice of ages melts down into
the forked river called Nooksack, we are held
in the palm of a great hand.  Through the tent flap
the stars overhead radiate from
the “hammered dome,” what the ancients
called the firmament, but so pliant we want
to finger it, to pull it on, dusky, like a cap
against frost.
~Luci Shaw from “Singing Bowl”

the "hammered dome" by Josh Scholten
the “hammered dome” by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

 

Advent Sings: Hidden Power

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
Habakkuk 3 from Habakkuk’s Prayer

His hand
as a tiny newborn gripping his mother’s finger, clasping her mortality
His hand
as a toddler holding his father’s hand, following his every dusty footstep
His hand
as a child throwing and catching, dirty with work and play
His hand
as a teenager learning his craft, sanding and measuring
His hand
as a young man holding God’s Word and learning to keep it deep in his heart
His hand
as a itinerant teacher gesturing and flowing words with movement
His hand
as a healer touching feverish heads, driving out spirits, making the blind to see, raising the lame to walk
His hand
as a servant washing dusty feet, breaking bread, pouring wine, making breakfast
His hand
as a Son gripping tight His Father’s in fervent prayer for relief and release
His hand
as a sacrifice pierced by the nail aimed at us
His hand
as a risen Savior rolling away the stone at sunrise
His hand
as ascended King of Kings, His power no longer hidden.
His hand
holding heavens where flashes His glory upon our faces
Forever and Ever.