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Further Along My Passage

May 2014

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Spring Lambs

Baby lambs and goats seen along my journey to church each sunday herald the Resurrection.  The Voice that wakes the dead unfolds new life now in our valley in magnificent abundance. Wild flowers in bloom along the roadsides, migrating songbirds, and rows of new crops turn the landscape green --all gifts of assurance that everlasting life is a present reality.  G.K. Chesterton, in his poem, The Convert,  said it best:

 

 “The sages have a hundred maps to give

That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,

That rattle reason out through many a sieve

That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:

And all these things are less than dust to me,

Because my name is Lazarus and I live.”

 

Brooks Atkinson, writing a half century ago, rates high among my favorite nature essayists. His lyrical portraits of the four seasons focus on the wonders of Creation.  Here he sings the glorious and special praises of Spring:

“...Although I had sworn to play no favorites, to study the texture of each season impartially and to transcribe its symbols without prejudices, I found myself dissolved by the spring.  Now the green began to edge the woods with color, the violets, bloodroot, arbutus, and wild geranium sweetened the ground, and the birds went by in a mysterious wave of motion until every thicket, field, and glade rang with song.  Lounging on a hill behind the cabin one March evening I heard bluebirds, song sparrows, juncos, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, crows, meadowlarks, and the fragile luminous aria of the fox sparrow – all these songs simultaneously so that it was difficult to distinguish them as individual voices.  Collectively they were the grand summons to spring like the ringing of many vesper bells in a mountain village.  Long before our ancestors travelled this country, these birds made their way north each year and serenaded the valley with the same purity.  How do they know when to come or when to go?  Why do they follow the same courses?  None of us knows.  But to quiet every worldly alarm it is sufficient to know that they do come.  When the bluebird fails to leap out of the sky, when the bloodroot no longer pushes through the dead leaves, then it will be time to stitch up our ascension robes for immediate and serious action.         Brooks Atkinson in an essay, Smoke From A Valley Cabin

lambs bottle babies



“...Here stands the cross of Jesus.  Here is the sign that gives the lie to the plausible wisdom of material security.  We are being told today that scientific humanism holds the key to security.  We are being told that words like faith and providence are now unintelligent sentimentalities which we must leave out of the reckoning.  We are even told that as long as we can build bigger and better ballistic missiles than other nations nothing else matters:  this is our best security.  What a hope!  Men are beginning to see through that decrepit philosophy.  For in fact it is the bankrupt logic of fatalism and despair: ‘mind at the end of its tether’, to use H. G. Wells’ phrase.  Here stands the cross of Jesus – this essential insecurity, this foolishness of faith, this hope strained to the breaking-point, this love despised and rejected.  This is the wisdom of God.  And it is quite certain that life will work no other way.”  James S. Stewart in his sermon “The Cross as Power and Wisdom”  published in River of Life, Abingdon Press, Nashville and New York, 1972Green with indigo




“With one voice all the saints proclaim it, that there is no nook or cranny of life which is not crowded with light and flooded with sunshine, no dull stretch of the road which does not grow romantic, no common task or lonely way which is not marvelously transfigured, no human friendship which is not hallowed, no heavy cross which does not begin to shine with glory, when once Christ and His glad tidings have gripped and held the heart.”  James S. Stewart in a sermon “Triumphant Adequacy of Christ.”



 


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