Comment from Ken: Got carried away in my thoughts again today on our walk. Seems like I begin to write and my brain leads me where I did not plan to go. Thanks for putting up with me.
Scripture: Genesis 1: 1 – 10
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The
earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of
3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
9Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was
(Perhaps you would like to take your Bible and read the whole first chapter of the Book of Genesis.)
Good afternoon, my friend. You are joining me for our walk at two o’clock on Wednesday; it is sunny but cool here, about thirty- one degrees. You are impressed with my driveway for the ice seems to be scraped from it? I did that around one o’clock because with the sun shining that the half inch of ice that had formed yesterday had softened so that I could use the blade of my tractor to strip the ice away, at least most of it. Come on in, sit by the fire with me, and we will forgo a very slippery walk this afternoon.
When I drove into Concord today, the scenery was astounding. The trees and the bushes all along the roads were coated with ice. The fir tree branches were bending downward, green but topped with a coating of white, silver ice. So many times here, I feel the grandeur of God, and so appreciate the beauty He has bestowed upon us.
When I just spoke the word grandeur, I remembered back to a course in poetry at Tufts University. Do you know, I have been so blessed to have been given the education I have by sacrificing and loving parents.
When I attended Tufts, it was known to have an excellent English Department. After giving up hopes (or rather my parents’ dream) that one of their children should become a dentist like our father, I became an English major. Oh, how grateful I have been for that during the years of my ministry. The characters I met in novels and in plays, the situations that arose in the authors writings all became a part of my preaching ministry. The novels I read, five courses in English literature during my junior or senior year, brought to life Hardy’s Jude and his creation Tess. George Elliot’s Adam, such a wonderful man, and Hetty Sorel such a sad and unhappy woman, were examples of how one could live life.
I had an argument over those two characters with my professor for I so admired Adam, and my professor told me Hetty was a more realistic character of life. But now I am rambling for I began this conversation with mention of the word “grandeur.”
There is a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins entitled the Grandeur of God. Hopkins wrote poetry during the Victorian Era. He composed poetry in a very descriptive manner. His words rhyme for the most part and fit together as a tapestry that causes you to see words of beauty, not just words. Whether or not I truly understand it, I love the poetry of Hopkins.
Here is the poem that I would have you delight in too. Perhaps with the Internet you might wish to read more of his poetry. I challenge you!
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest. He was born in England on July 28, 1844, and he died just before his forty-fifth birthday. He was raised in the Anglican Church, and when he became a Catholic his family distanced themselves from him. Once ordained, he believed his poetry and his religion could not exit together so he gave up writing poetry. This was a conflict all of his adult life. Asked by a religious superior to write a poem commemorating the sinking of a German ship, Hopkins penned the poem the Wreck of the Deutschland. So Hopkins did continue to write some poetry, but it became quite melancholy. I still love his poetry and wonder why he should have seen a conflict between his poetry and his faith.
Now all of this came about because today on that ride to Concord with my friend and constant companion, Molly, the world outside our truck was one of splendid, unbelievable beauty. I attempted to take some pictures of the ice-covered trees and sparkling limbs and branches, but you had to be there to see the trees in the sunlight to really appreciate their incredible beauty. Ah, if we could only write poetry as did Gerard Manley Hopkins then that beauty might be captured forever. Yet, God gave us memory that can be full of pictures that we may recall when we sit in quietness wherever we may be and whatever the day is like.
Come on – come outside with me The sun is fading in the West, but the trees still sparkle with diamonds that only our wondrous God can place upon them. Look. Look and see our world Although bleared by men, it still shows forth the Grandeur of God.
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for those who can put in words pictures that show Your glory and wonder even in the darkness of night. Help us to capture the beauty of each day that we may praise and honor You, our Creator, and to give thanks for our presence upon this planet called earth. Until one day we see the grandeur of our Lord in eternity and face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”