the air into which we are born


Eugene Peterson, quoted by Carolyn Custis James:

“Giving…is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Giving is the way the world is. God gives himself. He also gives away everything that is. He makes no exceptions for any of us. We are given away to our families, to our neighbors, to our friends, to our enemies – to the nations. Our life is for others. That is the way creation works. Some of us try desperately to hold on to ourselves, to live for ourselves…afraid to risk ourselves on the untried wings of giving…and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping life of grace.”

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We see the universe marvelously arranged

 

Albert Einstein, quoted here:

“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

to behold the sweet glory of God in these things

Jonathan Edwards:

“God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and in all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer.”

What an amazing instrument you are

I can’t tell you, though, how I felt, walking along beside him that night, along that rutted road, through that empty world – what a sweet strength I felt, in him, and in myself, and all around us. I am glad I didn’t understand, because I have rarely felt joy like that, and assurance. It was like one of those dreams where you’re filled with some extravagant feeling you might never have in life; it doesn’t matter what it is, even guilt or dread, and you learn from it what an amazing instrument you are, so to speak, what a power you have to experience beyond anything you might ever actually need. Who would have thought that the moon could dazzle and flame like that?

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

As if God had stooped to whisper

A poem by Geoffrey Brock, “Sweet Recess”:

It’s odd: the sacred world can pass for years

Unseen, then fill your eyes, stopping you still,

As if God had stooped to whisper in your ears

Look there: the nuthatch on the kitchen sill,

Feathers ruffled to fatness against the cold;

The neighbor’s listing shed, its siding (white

Once, gray and peeling now) recast in gold

By early evening’s kind alchemic light;

Or one you love, framed in the entryway,

Wholly herself, and you for once abstracted

From fierce desire, its lenses and scaffoldings,

And left by language, which will not convey

The sense of stupid wonder that, though muted,

Fills the cage of your ribs with a riff of wings.