A Heart Inclined

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
~C. S. Lewis

I’ve been following Kathleen Mulhern’s blog “Dry Bones” where she is currently illuminating Blaise Pascal’s fascinating discussions on faith and belief (i.e. Pascal’s Wager).   I am learning how “seeking is as good as seeing” (Julian of Norwich).

What Pascal determines is that one must “incline the heart” toward belief in God, to “desire” to fill that “God-shaped hole” in our lives:

I tell you that you will gain even in this life, and that at every step you take along this road you will see that your gain is so certain and your risk so negligible that in the end you will realize that you have wagered on something certain and infinite for which you have paid nothing.
~Blaise Pascal

If we do not know spiritual hopelessness, we cannot hope. If we do not know spiritual wretchedness, we cannot find the happiness we long for. If we do not see the abyss at our feet, we cannot believe there is a way across it; if we are not willing to descend into its depths, which lie in our own souls, we will never ascend the heights on the other side.
~Kathleen Mulhern from “Dry Bones”

Honing and Tending

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

Creation is the arena in and through which God wishes to reveal himself.
In creating, in preserving, in pursuing; in hallowing, in participating, in wooing—
the Father, the Son, and the Spirit have made all creation,
and all its creatures, great and small, their delight.

We recognize that, being made in his image, we are appointed as his stewards.
This does not give us carte blanche with God’s world.
We are not given creation to plunder,
but to hone and tend in such ways that every little part of it gives glory to God.
~Kathleen Mulhern in Dry Bones

photo by Josh Scholten

Barbarous in Beauty

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks rise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, willful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

 I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
And, eyes, heart, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?

And the azurous hung hills are his world wielding shoulder
Majestic as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet! –
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins “Hurrahing in Harvest”

Reading Hopkins invokes God’s intentional accessibility “stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet” in our daily lives, if we simply open our eyes to see and ears to hear.  The details Hopkins captures in marvelous word pictures, painting with sound and syllable, pull us in.  The “heart rears wings” as we are lifted up to see the Lord manifest in Creation.  We can’t help but be harvested to live obediently as we “glean our Savior” through raised heart and eyes to the glory in the heavens.

As Kathleen Mulhern in her blog “Dry Bones” says in her analysis of “a Christ sighting”:
“There is no point in seeing without responding; there is no way to respond without seeing. Christian life and practice require both faith (the sight of the heart) and works (the lurch of the heart toward him in obedience).”

The gleaning of our Savior is particularly manifest in the sacrament of communion, the earthly meal Jesus invites us to partake of His harvest.  In the bread and wine,  “a barbarous beauty” representing his body and blood,  He lifts us up to taste the glories of heaven.

Our heart “hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him” in response.

What else,  at summer’s end,  can we do?

We walk in faith, raised up, glorious.

Sheaves of Wheat in a Field –Vincent Van Gogh

Making and Unmaking

photo by Josh Scholten

“Everything is made to perish; the wonder of anything at all is that it has not already done so. No, he thought. The wonder of anything is that it was made in the first place. What persists beyond this cataclysm of making and unmaking?”
~Paul Harding

What persists indeed?  There are times when all appears to be perishing, especially in the dying time of year when the world is drying up, blowing away like the dust storms in the parched midwest which soil the air like so much smoke.  The obituary pages predominate in the paper, accompanying an overload of bad news, mass shootings and suicide bombings.  All appears to be perishing with no relief or hope.

But it is waning light and shortening days coloring my view like haze in the sky painting a sunset blood red.  Darkness is temporary and inevitably helpless; it can never overcome the light of all things made.

Life persists in the midst of perishing because of the cataclysm of a loving and bleeding God dying as sacrifice.  Nothing, nothing can ever be the same.

God goes where God has never gone before.”
~ Kathleen Mulhern in Dry Bones

photo by Nate Gibson

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
~John 1: 3-5