Future Joy

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There is a place called heaven where
the good here unfinished is completed;
and where the stories unwritten,
and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued.
We may laugh together yet.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

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Published in: on 01/29/2018 at 15:51  Leave a Comment  
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Eternal Vibrations

Closeup of alto xylophone, Thai instrument.

Every action of our lives
touches on some chord
that will vibrate in eternity.

–Edwin Hubbel Chapin
(1814-1880)

Aim at Heaven

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Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.

If you read history you will find
that the Christians who did most
for the present world were just those
who thought most of the next.

The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. […] Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

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 day is coming

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All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 04/02/2013 at 21:07  Leave a Comment  
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The scent of Things Unseen

The world, beautiful as it is, is not enough. The beauty itself doesn’t satisfy. It promises satisfaction mirage-like, it can’t provide. Yet the beauty is a mimetic clue, both echo and foretaste, of Things Unseen, an enigmatic hint of Elsewhere which we puzzle over but rarely decipher. He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done. He is everywhere baiting us, prodding, luring us.

He is playing hide-and-seek with heaven and earth,
strewing clues all around, brushing the common-place
with the scent of Things Unseen.

–Mark Buchanan

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