He seeks to be found

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The reason we can hope to find God is that He is here, engaged all the time in finding us.

Every gleam of beauty
is a pull toward Him.

Every pulse of love is a tendril that draws us in His direction. Every verification of truth links the finite mind up into a Foundational Mind that undergirds us. Every deed of good will points toward a consummate Goodness which fulfills all our tiny adventures in faith. We can find Him because in Him we live and move and have our being.

–Rufus M. Jones
(1863-1948)

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Made in heaven

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Every bit of love and beauty and truth that anyone ever experiences on earth is made in Heaven and is a participation in Heaven. For Heaven is God’s presence; and God is present in all goodness, all truth, and all beauty . . . In God all goodness, truth and beauty exist, coexist and meet . . . God is the point of it all.

–Peter J. Kreeft
Heaven: The Earth’s Deepest Longing

Published in: on 10/05/2013 at 17:49  Leave a Comment  
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A trail of bread crumbs

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Whenever we experience
something truly beautiful,
it’s as if someone is leaving
a trail of breadcrumbs to the place
where we are fully known and fully loved.
Our task is to follow the bread crumbs
to see where they lead.

–Jonathan Martin
Prototype

Beauty, love and shampoo

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The goal of all marketing is the reduction of a big desire to a small desire. In other words, you long for beauty, love, friendship, wisdom, and it is the job of the marketer to convince you that the way you will achieve these desires is to purchase a certain brand of shampoo.

–Kimberly Shankman

The birthplace of beauty

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The Christian understanding of beauty emerges not only naturally, but necessarily, from the Christian understanding of God as a perichoresis of love, dynamic coinherence of the three divine persons, whose life is eternally one of shared regard, delight, fellowship, feasting, and joy.

–David Bentley Hart
The Beauty of the Infinite

Living in a sacred world

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The world is not God, of course, but the incarnation goes all the way down, and the Spirit indwells all that exists. Nothing is without a witness to the divine; everything that exists praises the Creator . . .

God’s creation is a revelation
of divine presence.

This is the genius of Christian theology: It radically reconfigures the human conception of the sacred. Nothing is inherently “profane.” It may be profaned by sin; but it is inherently an arena of divine activity and spiritual insight. The locus and focus of biblical theology is the world, not the heavens.

–Leonard Sweet

Whose idea was it?

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Music, wine, poetry, sunsets…those were his inventions, not ours. We simply discovered what He had already thought of. Lovers and honeymooners choose places like Hawaii, the Bahamas, or Tuscany as a backdrop for their love. But whose idea was Hawaii, the Bahamas, and Tuscany?”

–John Eldredge
Wild at Heart

Published in: on 08/23/2013 at 6:20  Leave a Comment  
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The God of many colors

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God does not work
by only one method,
paint in only one color,
play in only one key,
nor does He make only one star
shine onto the earth.

–Eberhard Arnold

Published in: on 07/27/2013 at 21:48  Leave a Comment  
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Intended for joy

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There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended
to make us rejoice.

–John Calvin
(1509 – 1564)

Published in: on 07/16/2013 at 4:10  Leave a Comment  
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Getting to the heart

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There are only two things
that pierce the human heart,
beauty and affliction.

–Simone Weil

Published in: on 05/14/2013 at 4:04  Comments (1)  
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Original glory

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Earlier in the Story, back in the beginning of our time on earth, a great glory was bestowed upon us. All of us—men and women—were created in the image of God. Fearfully and wonderfully made, as the saying goes. Living icons of the living God. Those who have ever stood before him fall to their knees without even thinking, as you find yourself breathless before the Grand Canyon, a sunrise, the cliffs by the sea. That glory was shared with us; we were in Chesterton’s phrase, “statues of God walking about in a Garden,” endowed with strength and beauty all our own. All that you ever wished you could be, you were—and more. We were glorious.

When I look at the night sky 
and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you have set in place—
what are mortals that you should think of us, 
mere humans that you should care for us?
For you have made us only a little lower than God, 
and you crowned us with glory and with honor.
(Psa. 8:3-5 NLT)

I daresay we’ve heard a little about original sin, 
but not nearly enough about original glory, 
which come before sin and is 
much deeper to our nature.

We were crowned with glory and with honor. Why does a woman long to be beautiful? How does a man hope to be found brave? Because we remember, if only faintly, that we were once more than we are now.

–John Eldredege
Epic
(emphasis added)

Mysterious beauty

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I wondered over again for the hundreth time what could be the principle which, in the wildest, most lawless, fantastically chaotic, apparently capricious work of nature, always kept it beautiful. The beauty of holiness must be at the heart of it somehow, I though. Because our God is so free from stain, so loving, so unselfish, so good, so altogether what He wants us to be, so holy, therefore all His works declare Him in beauty…

His fingers can touch nothing
but to mould it into loveliness;
and even the play of His elements
is in grace and tenderness of form.

–George MacDonald

The problem of pleasure

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Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce . . . Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and the lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Where are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for all the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight,
joy and personal fulfillment.

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Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation.

Moments of pleasure are
the remnants washed ashore
from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise
extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

. . . Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.

–Philip Yancey
Soul Survivor

When beauty beckons

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There you are, standing at a window, watching oak leaves flutter down from dark boughs, and without warning your whole body fills with a longing for something you can’t name, something you’ve lost but never had, that you’re nostalgic for yet don’t remember. You sense a joy so huge it breaks you, a sorrow so deep it cleanses.

Or in line at a store one day, you turn and look at a child who doesn’t notice you. The skin on her face curves down flushed and smooth along her cheekbones and creases into delicate folds at her eyes. There is a wild hope in those eyes, and her beauty pierces you in a way you don’t understand.

. . . And you wonder, How can this be?

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This is how: You want to go home. The instinct for heaven is just that: homesickness, ancient as night, urgent as daybreak. All your longings—for the place you grew up, for the taste of raspberry tarts that your mother once pulled hot from the oven, for that bend in the river where your father took fishing as a child, where the water was dark and swirling and the caddis flies hovered in the deep shade—all these longings are a homesickness, a wanting in full what all these things only hint at, only prick you with. These are the things seen that conjure in our emotions the Things Unseen. “He has set eternity in the hearts of men,” the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (3:11).

–Mark Buchanan
Things Unseen

The first sketch

Bellìsimo Atardecer

Heaven is that greater glory
of which Nature is only
the first sketch.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 12/30/2012 at 20:54  Leave a Comment  
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A yearning for home

If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for.

The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams
come from and our truest prayers.

We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength.

The Kingdom of God is where we belong.
It is home, and whether we realize it or not,
I think we are all of us homesick for it.

―Frederick Buechner
(emphasis added)

Not home yet

Our Father refreshes us
on the journey
with some pleasant inns,
but will not encourage us
to mistake them for home.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/20/2012 at 5:57  Leave a Comment  
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Oblivious to the concert

But so many Christians
are like deaf people at a concert.
They study the programme carefully,
believe every statement made in it,
speak respectfully of the quality of the music,
but only really hear a phrase now and again.
So they have no notion at all
of the mighty symphony
which fills the universe,
to which our lives are destined
to make their tiny contribution,
and which is the self-expression
of the Eternal God.

–Evelyn Underhill (1875 – 1941)

Rumors of another world

I began to listen to my own longings as rumours of another world, a bright clue to the nature of the Creator. Somehow I had fallen for the deception of judging the natural world as unspiritual and God as antipleasure.

But God invented matter, after all,
including all the sensors in the body
through which I experience pleasure.

Nature and supernature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality.

–Philip Yancey

The rare moment

The rare moment
is not the moment when
there is something worth looking at,
but the moment when
we are capable of seeing.

— Joseph Wood Krutch

Published in: on 09/13/2012 at 8:16  Leave a Comment  
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The Creator’s design

“The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.”
(Psa. 115:16)

Why did You create all these things? They were all made for man and man was made for You. That was the order which You established. Woe to the one who reverses it, who would that all should be for him and turns in upon himself. He breaks the fundamental law of creation.

–François Fenelon
(1651 – 1715)

Try to be there

It’s all a matter of keeping my eyes open. Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is to try to be there . . . so creation need not play to an empty house.

–Annie Dillard

Saturated with grace

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter—in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.

–Brennan Manning

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
having wealth or fame.
The miracle is having toes
and a tongue and fingers
and knees and a nose.

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
walking on water.
It is walking on a planet
where there are blackberries,
waterfalls, sunsets,
hummingbirds, rainbows,
butterflies and penguins. 

God’s art gallery

Thank God I have seen
an orange sky with purple clouds.
How easy it is to forget that
we have the privilege of living
in God’s art gallery.

–Erica Goros

A world of wonder

Childhood is the world of miracle and wonder; as if creation rose, bathed in the light, out of the darkness, utterly new and fresh and astonishing.  The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us.

–Eugene Ionesco
(1912 – 1994)

Rethinking the Seven Wonders

Nothing but wonders

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only does wondrous things! –Psalm 72:18

God never works anything but wonders. That is His nature… Take the simplest things, a blade of grass, or a worm, or a flower. What wonders men of science tells us about them!

–Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917)

Published in: on 08/24/2012 at 9:02  Leave a Comment  
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The sublime wonder of living

The surest way to suppress
our ability to understand
the meaning of God
and the importance of worship
is to take things for granted.
Indifference to
the sublime wonder of living
is the root of sin.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel
(1907 – 1972)

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