Monday, September 15, 2008

SAME OL’ WORLD?
Seeing sacredness in the ancient earth and commonness of life is cause for celebration and hope

SAME OL’, SAME OL’. One weary evening the world looks old and the same. And that is cause for lament. In such a state of mind the normal things of the day seem tedious, rut-like, monotonous. I momentarily despair of there being anything new in life under the sun. Have I experienced all of life already? Am I now just repeating the same cycles thinly veiled in different venues and minor variables?

ONE SHINING MOMENT. Then, one evening I see a sunset in breathtaking relief of a rare cloud formation. For a few moments—and a few moments only—the horizon reflects a flaming red hue on the underside of nearer, higher clouds. Just as quickly, the sun disappears and night falls. And I recall Annie Dillard’s words: “The Creator goes off on one wild, specific tangent after another, or millions simultaneously, with an exuberance that would seem to be unwarranted, and with an abandoned energy sprung from an unfathomable font. What is going on here?” (from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek).

THE OPPORTUNITY OF TODAY. The world looks old and the same. And that is cause for awe, for celebration. In such a state of heart the normal things of the day seem profound, unique, and renewing. In this moment I begin to believe again that anything is possible and that when it happens it will be occurring for the very first time. For all that has gone before, this moment is new, this day is unfortold. The opportunity to live forwardly is now.

RESIDUAL HOLINESS. The world is old and the same. And ever new. The Creator is active. And the children of creation, endowed with imagination and heart and intellect from the One who formed the first matter, echo and mimic the creative fiat in infinitely expressive ways. In each generation, for all its brokenness and fallenness, there is residual holiness and a renewing of the original intent. We do not merely carry on, all the while slowly winding down as entropy proclaims. Amid our carrying on, we may be made new and make new.

SUNRISE, SUNSET. Is the world winding down or winding up? Are things deteriorating from an organized beginning? Some things appear so. Are things reaching new thresholds of development? Are fresh discoveries of inner and outer space contributing to deeper understanding? In some cases, yes! Both occur simultaneously, whatever my passing outlook. It is a paradox. Where do I choose to dwell? On what do I choose to focus? Which will be the horizon toward which I face—sunset or sunrise?


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