Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  Last Sunday our church had a picnic after service and we had a local band play a mix of sacred and secular songs, lots of good fellowship and fun and games for the kids. A parent or two were dancing with their children to the music when one of the brothers whose daughter Gracie suffers from something like extreme Autism or some similar affliction. The malady won’t allow her to engage or focus on anything or anyone, and although she is fully mobile, but for a large locket around her neck, nothing else arrests her attention. This brother inspired by the music and love for his darling daughter swept her up into his arms and began to dance with her. As soon as he lifted her she became stiff and unresponsive, and she is about eleven so it was awkward trying to hold her, so he gently set her back down. He was unable to embrace the moment of affection with her he wanted, and all of us watching wanted, but his love is used to the limits she has and undaunted he lovingly attended to her every moment.

Later in the day as I was contemplating that event, I couldn’t help make the comparison between Gracie and her father and the children of God and their Father.  
Picture is my son and granddaughter dancing. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

“More than anything else one suspects that this is at the root of irreligion. It is not skepticism, but preoccupation, which generally makes the innermost relationships of a man’s soul with God of no account. The highest is in us all. At times it flames up and we know that we are not dust but spirit, and that in fellowship with the Spiritual Life, from whom we came, is our power and our peace. But many a man who has known the meaning and the might of this relationship has largely lost it, not because theoretically he has disbelieved, but because practically he has crowded it out.
“Sometime,” the man says, “I will attend to these deepest and finest relationships.”
Meanwhile he picks up his life as a football runner does the ball and speeds across the field. He does not notice the ground across which he runs; his eyes are set upon the goal. He has no present; he has only a future. The most enriching relationships of life, from family love and friendship to religious faith, offer their best to him, but he runs by. “Sometime,” he says.
That time never comes; it never will come. What he needs most to learn is that the days are not a football field to be run over, but gardens to be tilled, and that, if tilled well, they can grow now the things of which heaven is made.”

Author unknown, pic from the internet.  

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

  In the following piece, Martin Tupper eloquently describes the intricate process of how nature rebuilds itself, and in analogy, how our minds grow, mature and expand.

“Man is proud of his mind, boasting that it gives him divinity,
Yet with all its powers it can originate nothing;
For the great God has poured into all his works richly;
Except for one special property, the grand prerogative --- Creation.
To improve and expand is ours, as well as to limit and defeat;
But to create a thought or a thing is hopeless and impossible.
The following illustration about a large reef that was broken off, swept to shore, there to die and lay barren and its subsequent re-birth, will help us understand.

The Barren Reef

Behold the barren reef, which an earthquake has just left dry;
It has no beauty to boast of, no harvest of fair fruits:
But soon the lichen fixes there, and dying, digs its own grave,
And softening suns and splitting frosts crumble the reluctant surface;
And cormorants roost there, and the snail adds its slime,
And newts, with muddy feet, bring their welcome tribute;
And the sea casts out her dead, wrapped in a shroud of weeds;
And orderly nature arranges again the disunited atoms;
And in a short time, the cold smooth stone is warm with feathery grass,
And the light spores of the fern are dropt by the passing wind,
The wood-pigeon, on swift wing, leaves its crop-full of grain,
The squirrel’s jealous care plants the fir-cone and the filbert:
Years pass, and the sterile rock is rank with tangled herbage;
The wild-vine clings to the brier, and the ivy runs green among the corn,
 And the tall pine and hazel-thicket shade the rambling hunter.

With all this outside influence shall the rock boast of its fertility? Shall it lift the head in pride?
So in like manner, shall the mind of man be vain of the harvest of its thoughts?
The soil may be rich, and the mind may be active, but neither yield unsown;
The Bible proclaims, “There is nothing new under the sun:
We only arrange and combine the ancient elements of all things;
For man, it is his lot to find out things that are,
Not to create the non-existent.
The globe knows not increase, either of matter or spirit;
Atoms and thoughts are used again, mixing in varied combinations;
And though, by molding them anew, you make them your own,
Yet have they served thousands before you, and all their merit is of God.

I like this so much because it helps me understand the importance of lifting our heads to the world around us, and drawing in the good from everywhere we can. Let our mind be ever so fertile, if we don’t sow seeds of truth, virtue, and goodness in our minds, we will be dwarfed.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

The following is from a chapter called “the education of our girls” and the author encourages a liberal education for all. Here the recommendation is to learn from nature the skills only a sensitive heart can acquire. I interpret this to mean that the soft and subtle as well as the turbulent motions of nature will be drawn into the spirit of the person that “shall lean her ear in many a secret place.” Learning the laws and impulses nature has to teach.
 “Nature,” begins by observing a three-year-old child whom she decides to choose for a student.

“Three years she grew in sun and shower;
Then nature said, ‘A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This child I to myself will take,
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.

“Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.

“She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm,
Of mute insensate things.

“The floating clouds their state shall lend
to her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
E’en in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mold the maiden’s form
By silent sympathy.

“The stars of midnight shall be dear
to her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place,
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.’”

I can't recall ever reading a more lovely bouquet of thought.

 From Our Home, by Charles E. Sargent, M.A.,

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Make the most of what there is good in institutions, in opinions, in communities, in individuals. It is very easy to do the reverse of this, to make the worst of what there is of evil, absurd, and erroneous. By so doing we shall have no difficulty in making estrangements more wide, and hatreds and strifes more abundant, and errors more extreme." Dean Stanley.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The following piece on the proud person is written with the contempt that people truly feel towards those who see themselves as more than they are. I’m in this essay, no doubt: but I rarely find anyone who doesn’t hold some or many of the following weaknesses. Read this slowly with true self-evaluation before you just dismiss it as a description of the other guy.
A proud man is a fool in fermentation that swells and boils over like a porridge-pot. He set out his feathers like an owl, to swell and seem bigger than he is. He is troubled with a tumor and inflammation of self-conceit, that renders every part of him stiff and uneasy. He has given himself sympathetic love-powder, that works upon him to foolish self-affection, and has transformed him into his own mistress.
He is his own gallant knight, and makes most passionate addresses to his own dear perfections. He commits idolatry to himself, and worships his own image; though there is no soul living of his church but himself, yet he believes as the church believes, and maintains his faith with the obstinacy of a fanatic. He is his own favorite, and advances himself, not only above his merit, but above all mankind; he give place to no man but himself, and that with very great distance to all others, whom he esteems not worthy to approach him.
He believes whatever he has, receives a value in just being his, as a horse in a nobleman’s stable will bear a greater price than in a common market.
He strives to look bigger than himself, as well as others; and is no better than his own parasite and flatterer.
A little flood will make a shallow torrent swell about its banks, and rage, and foam, and yield a roaring noise, while a deep, silent stream glides quietly on; so a vain-glorious, insolent, proud man swells with a little frail prosperity, grows big and loud, and overflows its bounds, and when he sinks, leaves mud and dirt behind him.
Now, we can naturally take no view of ourselves, unless we look downwards, to teach us what humble admirers we ought to be of our own value. The slighter and less solid his materials are, the more room they take up, and make him swell the bigger, as feathers and cotton will stuff cushions better than things of more close and solid parts. Butler.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

“What would be the heart of an old weather-beaten hollow stump, if the leaves and blossoms of its youth were suddenly to spring up out of the mould around it, and to remind it how bright and blissful summer was in the years of its prime!
That which has died within us, is often the saddest portion of what Death has taken away, sad to all, sad above measure to those in whom no higher life has been awakened. The heavy thought is the thought of what we were, of what we hoped and purpost to have been, of what we ought to have been, of what but for ourselves we might have been, set by the side of what we are; as though we were haunted by the ghost of our own youth. This is a thought the crushing weight of which nothing but strength above our own can lighten.” Guesses at Truth. 

  I look often into faces that have let years go by without fruitage. Addiction and wayward living steal years so silently and swiftly, that when finally realized, it seems impossible that whole seasons have been lost. That being said, I’m sure there is not a person, when assessing the years, cannot find many that lay fallow.