Not Forgotten

Our memories are, at best, so limited, so finite, that it is impossible for us to envisage an unlimited, infinite memory, the memory of God. It is something I want to believe in: that no atom of creation is ever forgotten by him; always is; cared for; developing; loved. 
~Madeleine L’Engle from The Summer of the Great-Grandmother

…a friend told me a story about a little girl who wanted time alone with her infant brother. Her parents were suspicious of her motives. What if she did something to harm the baby? The big sister was so persistent that her mom and dad finally decided to allow her ten minutes alone with him in his room. After they closed the door, they listened quietly. They felt chills when they heard their daughter say,
“Baby tell me what heaven is like. I’m starting to forget.”
~Sue Shanahan from “Fresh from Heaven”

He of strength and hope,
of infinite memory and everlasting love:
He knows us down to our very atoms ~~
even we who are weak, broken, and undeserving.
He causes us to burst into bloom
in remembrance of having been in His presence.

God Was Here: Knit to Man’s Nature

 

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“infinity walled in a womb…”
~Luci Shaw from “Made flesh,” in Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation 

“…inside her the mind
of Christ, cloaked in blood,
lodges and begins to grow.”
~Jane Kenyon from “Mosaic of the Nativity”

There is nothing more finite than the space inside the womb–it gets crowded in there quickly over a scant few months.

Yet there Infinity dwelled within the finite.

As I am no theologian, I’m not capable of discussing the intricacy of the reformational argument of finitum capax infiniti (the finite is capable of the infinite) vs finitum non capax infiniti (the finite is not capable of the infinite) which has to do with Christ’s bodily presence in the Eucharist.

As a mother, I try to understand that finite Mary carried the infinite within
“inside her the mind of Christ”…

The incarnation of God knit together with the nature of Man is far more profound than the joining of flute and drum to make joyous dancing music. We historically have trivialized the birth of Jesus to scale it to a size more comfortable for our limited comprehension with little drummer boys, kindly oxen, loyal donkey, cute angels, lots of tu-re-lus and pat-a-pans.

The reality is: nothing is the same as it was when the finite met with the infinite
– a big bang –
but this one happened in our hearts.
By coming and joining to us, God changed everything and us.

How is it, now knowing this, can anyone be glum?
How can we not dance and sing?

 

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.”
~William Blake from Auguries of Innocence 

 

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Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance. 

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance. 

 

God Among Us: Infinite Joined With Finite

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By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1Timothy 3:16

 

The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe.
~Wayne Grudem from Systematic Theology

The virgin birth has never been a major stumbling block in my struggle with Christianity; it’s far less mind-boggling than the Power of all Creation stooping so low as to become one of us.
~Madeleine L’Engle from A Stone for a Pillow

 

Most of us enjoy mysteries.  We enjoy the suspense of trying to solve the puzzle, and consider all the options.  But somehow this mystery causes some frustration and anger.  Why is the ultimate answer not revealed, where is the ending?  Why are we not shown the full narrative arc like a series of Star Wars movies that seem to capture our imaginations?
Yet this mystery of Godliness — the infinite becoming finite —  is not for us to solve or reckon with.  It is for us to marvel over, we are 100% mind-boggled and content to wait until the day the story is complete.
~EPG

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1 True God and yet a Man?
True maid and yet a mother?
Thought wonders how thought can
Conceive one or the other.

2 A God and can He die?
A dead Man, can He live?
What can thought well reply?
What reason reason give?

3 God, truth itself does teach;
Our thoughts sink too far under
For reason’s pow’r to reach.

 

Immortal, invisible, God only wise
In light, inaccessible, hid from our eyes
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient Of Days
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise

Unresting, unhasting and silent as light
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might
Thy justice like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love

To all life Thou givest, to both great and small
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree
And wither and perish but naught changeth Thee

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight
All praise we would render, o help us to see
‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee

O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky:
We praise You for the radiance that from the hallowed page,
A Lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.

The Church from You, our Savior, received the Gift divine,
And still that Light is lifted over all the earth to shine.
It is the sacred Vessel where gems of truth are stored;
It is the heaven drawn Picture of Christ, the living Word.

The Scripture is a banner before God’s host unfurled;
It is a shining Beacon above the darkling world.
It is the Chart and Compass that over life’s surging tide,
Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, to You, O Christ, will guide.

O make your Church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,
To bear before the nations Your true light as of old.
O teach your wandering pilgrims by this their path to trace,
Till, clouds and darkness ended, they see You face to face.

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The Bounds of the Infinite

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God is not infinite;
He is the synthesis
of infinity and boundary.

~Coventry Patmore

He chose the boundaries of the finite;
to be helpless as a baby,
to love flawed parents,
to be dusty and tired and tempted,
to weep,
to be hurt, bleeding, bound by nails,
dead and buried as man,
to await rising as God.

Living and dying within such boundaries as ours
show us His infinite Truth:
He knows what it means
to be finite,
like us.

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