Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The presence of God

This exerpt is from a piece by Wilhelm Lamszus describing the thoughts of a Civil War soldier leaving for battle the following day. The soldier resists this encounter with God. I have never read a better description of the calling of God.

I am leaning back and straining my ears for the sounds in the dim twilight of the building.
Childhood's days rise before my eyes again. I am watching a little solemn-faced boy sitting crouched in a corner and listening to the divine service. The priest is standing in front of the altar, and is intoning the Exhortation devoutly. The choir in the gallery is chanting out the responses. The organ thunders out floods through the building majestically.
I am rapt in an ecstasy of sweet terror, for the Lord God is coming down upon us. He is standing before me and touching my body, so that I have to close my eyes in a terror of shuddering ecstacy....
That is long, long ago, and is all past and done with, as youth itself is past and done with...
Strange! After all these years of doubt and unbelief, at this moment of lucid consciousness, the atmosphere of devoutness, long since dead, possesses me, and thrills me so passionatly that I can hardly resist it. This is the same heavy twilight- these are the same yearning angel voices-
the same fearful sense of rapture--
I pull myself together, and sit bolt upright on the hard wooden pew.
Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook

1 comment:

mat said...

Rarely experienced, never forgotten.