After a restless night…frantically searching for ‘misplaced’ people and pets…I awoke in the early morning darkness, once again to the heavenly chorus of the Lux Aeterna. When I walked through the silent, darkened house…into the kitchen to grab my morning cup of coffee, the room was bathed in moonlight coming in through the windows. The nearly full moon in its descent to the horizon…partially veiled by clouds slowly drifting across the sky.
What Job feared most came upon him (Job 3:25). I’ve been told that the opposite of faith isn’t unbelief…but fear. And that perfect love casts out all fear…and so, engenders faith? And also…that faith is the substance of things hoped for…the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Both fear and faith have the power to manifest reality…each in its own way. I have a feeling that we have barely scratched the surface of this teaching…and hardly realized the material effect that both fear and faith have on our lives. Perfect love…that’s the catch.
In this morning’s darkness, even though the sun is hidden, its presence is made known by its light reflecting off that orbiting sphere we call the moon. And it’s comforting to know that soon, the radiance of the sun will overtake the darkness…and a new day will begin.
I look outside the window on this chilly morning…frost clinging to every blade of grass…the russet tones of a world slowly winding down…a world in decline. With a log burning in the fireplace…in this quiet house, I’m reminded that we all began this journey together. John O’Donohue, in Four Elements, writes about the very beginning of the universe…the very first moments of the Big Bang…of a ‘terrifying beauty’ emerging from that tiny, primal space.
And yet there was a moment when the whole cosmos was infinitely compressed and tiny. It is hard to imagine that a cosmos that now extends into infinity was once so tiny. Imagine the infinity of possibility that was compressed within that tiny space. This primal explosion must have had endless passion.
All that I see on this morning…the trees limned with the day’s first sunlight against a pale blue sky…the now withering geranium on the porch, still with a few fragile, pink blossoms in spite of the killing frost. And the fire in the hearth…but a faint echo of that first moment billions of years in the distant past. We all began this journey together…in a single, tiny point of light that held within itself all the potential and possibility of this present moment. What lays before our eyes is indeed, a terrifying beauty.
But why would any Christian claim that God has stopped talking? Did He speak the world into existence? Does matter exist apart from Him? Is it still here? Are you still here? Then He is still speaking.
Step outside your front door and look at today’s stage. Speak. God will reply. He will speak to you. He gave you senses. Use them. He will parade his art. He will give you a scene, a setting for the day. He will give you conflict to overcome, opportunities for your character to grow or fail.
~ N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl
I went hiking this morning at Crowders Mountain State Park, about an hour northwest of home. Autumn is my favorite season, and each day of late has been spectacular…with crisp, clear, chilly nights that leave a frost in the morning…and warm sunny days. And although the trees are losing their leaves…they’re going out in a blaze of glory…sizzling in the wind before they drift to the ground.
While I was out walking in the woods, the sight of another type of blaze caught my attention.These are the symbols placed along the trail, mostly on trees but sometimes on rocks…placed by someone who has already trod this way before. They serve to guide hikers safely along the trail in the right direction.
The results of wandering off the path can be hazardous to your well-being…so it’s best to be mindful of the blazes along the way.
I didn’t make it to the top of Crowders Mountain today…but up on Pinnacle Trail, I did find a nice outcropping of rocks that afforded a very nice view of the Piedmont below. Sitting up there…munching on a fig newton and taking a swig from my water bottle, the vista before me brought to mind another blaze of sorts…a book called Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, by N.D. Wilson. If you haven’t read it…get it and read it. It’s that good. I have to thank my brother for recommending it to me (Thanks Joe!). Wilson reminds us that we’re living in a truly extraordinary universe…where everything that surrounds us has been spoken into existence…and creatively held in being from moment to moment. God is still speaking to us…everywhere…and at every moment. We need to just open our eyes…and hear.
We all have times when we wander off the path…taking this world…and most everything in it for granted. It’s always a relief to get a sighting of one of those blazes that points us in the right direction along the trail…and rekindles our desire to get to our destination…while at the same time enabling us to appreciate every step of the journey along the way.