Saturday, March 16, 2013

Under the clouded sky...


It is difficult for us to reconcile the two ideas of God as a loving Father and as the Creator of all things, because of the existence of cruelty and undeserved suffering in Nature itself. Jesus apparently did take for granted the idea that God controlled the rising of the sun and falling of the rain and had made us male and female. It makes me long to have him here now so that I could ask him some of the questions that his disciples didn’t ask him. In fact I find that I am talking to him in my mind and that it is a great deal more profitable than talking to myself; even though it is, in one sense, talking to myself; and even though I don’t get the answers to the questions that puzzle me. But that doesn’t worry me now, because I have learned, as a scientist, how much I don’t understand. I have learned too that when a scientist encounters two apparently irreconcilable ideas, these are the stepping stones to new knowledge.
Kathleen Lonsdale, 1962 (Quaker Faith & Practice 26.23)

I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you can rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff...
Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
The wonder is that we go on from day to day, wondering where to have lunch, planning our next day, discussing the relative merits of different operating systems; and all the while light pours through the interstices of all that is, scouring our eyes, hosing clean our hearts if only we will turn to it, and singing this strange, clear note that says, over and over again, despite everything we think we know, “...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8.28)

Grace upon grace, out of pleroma—out of a fullness we cannot begin to comprehend, out of some well of isness that dwarfs all we know of space or time, comes a love so incarnate, so utterly bone of our bones, that the breath is driven from our lungs, and we gasp for the gift of air, of life, of all that is. That is all, really, that anyone can say. The rest is experience, experiment, practice, day after tiny day, little as we are ourselves. Just the quiet ways of faith, under the ivy, under the clouded sky...

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