Tuesday, 24 February 2009

nature knows

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

One of the ways I believe God’s word is perfect is in its timeliness. Just as Jesus came at the fullness of time, so God sent his word to his people in the fullness of time. The fact that the words of Scripture were given to the Hebrews and to the early Christians at the time they were is no accident. God has tied the revelation of his nature to particular periods of history, to particular modes of expression, to a particular way of seeing the world. God’s word is living, so it always speaks to every generation. But God chose people to express his word in oral tradition and in writing in their own language and idiom. So we must treasure the language of the Bible. We must dig deep into its figures of speech, into the comparisons made, into the methods of expression and the metaphors used to describe the ways of God.

We live in a world that is at times completely out of touch with the earth. No longer tied to the seasons and rhythms of the land and the sea, we forget or ignore the lessons nature has to teach us. The ancient writers did not have this luxury. The Scriptures are filled with creation as a living testimony and witness to God. The mountains shout, the trees applaud and the heavens declare. Too easily we can dismiss nature’s appearance in the Bible as mere metaphor and the crude anthropomorphisms of an ignorant culture. But I happen to think they were on to something, or rather, that God was on to something.

We need an understanding of the natural world viewed both as God’s creation and God’s revelation. Yes, we do make the distinction between “special” and “general” revelation. Christ falls in the first category, and creation in the second. But for those who know Christ – in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom all things are made new, in whose being all things in heaven and on earth are summed up and made perfect – we have been given an incredible treasure in the works of nature. If we listen closely, we can hear the story of Christ in the rivers and wrens. Creation whispers the secrets of the kingdom of God for those willing to listen.

(See previous posts talking trees, secrets and rara avis.)


Tuesday, 17 February 2009


After I finished my thesis, I took an unofficial break from theology, at the least on the level to which I had been accustomed. Burnt out, with another big writing project to finish, I think I was just too tired to think anymore. My rows and rows of theological books temporarily lost their luster. (horrors!) But then I started reading a book which was given to me by my wonderful Aunt Karen. It's an autobiography of a woman named Leanne Payne, who has been influential in my aunt's life. Her writing is both theological and deeply spiritual, the perfect mix to spark the synapses I had sent on an extended vacation. Long story short, last night I picked up Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World, a book about the sacraments that I really should have finished long ago. I read the first three pages and I was hooked again. I thought about it as I drifted off to sleep. I thought of the book when I woke up this morning, wondering if I could sneak a few pages in with my devotions this morning, or when I come home for lunch. I even wrote a blog post about it. Yup, the signs are all there. I'm in love.


Thursday, 12 February 2009


"But the fear of God reigning in the heart is the beauty of the soul; it recommends those that have it to the favour of God, and is, in his sight, of great price; it will last for ever, and bid defiance to death itself, which consumes the beauty of the body, but consummates the beauty of the soul."

~Matthew Henry, from his commentary on Proverbs 31:30

Monday, 9 February 2009


"Time is a sheer gift, the soil in which the soul's understanding buds and blossoms and virtues can be realized."

~Leanne Payne, Heaven's Calling

The archer

I feel the weight of the quiver
A gift and a burden of fire in my bones
The forest is silent and I pluck the bow
It sings like an instrument

I reach back to feel feathers
Drawing out smooth and straight
The heart of a tree
And a red tip

I hear the oak leaves shiver
And suddenly I can smell the earth
In the meeting of taut string and limb
My arms strengthen

I do not shoot
I am waiting and watching
Learning the names of my arrows
Tuning string to match strength

When the wind blows again
The trees will open a path
With clear eye and steady hand
I will be ready

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