Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Spring and Fall

to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah, as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal* lie**;
And yet you will weep and know why***.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrows springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed,
What heart heard of, ghost guessed****:
It was the blight man was born for.
It is Margaret you mourn for.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1880

"Leafmeal"; akin to "piecemeal", a work coined by Hopkins
**although Margaret might someday see a whole LOT ('worlds') of leaves laying around decaying,
***when she someday does, she will know why it moves her: the decay of leaves triggers thoughts of her own mortality
****before she had expressed it or heard it expressed, Margaret's own inner spirit knew the truth of this

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Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm waiting for fall to come:
For leaves to fall,
For mists to blow,
For winds to call,
For birds to go,
And then I'll know it's fall.

---Anonymous [makes the elementary school rounds]

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lutheran Ladies' Laugh

Martin Luther married a woman named "Katharine." His early side-kick, Philip Melanchthon, also married a woman named "Katharine." Mrs. Melanchthon's maiden name had been "Katharine Krapp*." ---No wonder she wanted to get married, even if she had to acquire such a clunky new last name & a kind of wimpy-looking husband!!!

"Krapp" is actually a German word for "red dye." The ancestors probably moved into the middle class by selling this. Katharine's farther was the mayor of Wittenberg. Yes, Mayor Krapp, not to be confused with Major Crap, which you find all over the internet!!!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Dirty Floor

[This is technically an analogy. Like all, it has its limitations.]

Somtimes people ask me, "Why do you consider Christianity so special or unique? After all, most of the world's great religions have fine moral codes." (Of course, these people are either not Christians at all or very loose or lapsed in their relationship to Him.) So I agree with them that that is true, but the primary thing about Christianity is not the fine moral code.
I give them this to think on:"When you were very young and tracked dirt in on the nice, clean kitchen floor, how did your mom react? Did she say, 'That's okay, honey, I love you so much that I'll ignore the dirt. We'll all just get along fine ignoring it.'???" Of course not!" [No one's ever said "Yes" to this---what a dump you'd live in if your mom were like that.] "
"And your mom knew you couldn't clean up the mess on your own. So, what did your mom do? She rolled up her sleeves* and cleaned up your mess on her own.""That's how it is with God and sin. God can even less stand to live with the dirt of sinfulness than your mom could with that dirty floor. [Old Testament: 'unclean' was how they often expressed sin or sinfulness.] God is so holy He can't even stand one speck of dirt in His presence---not the tiniest thing. And we're not capable of cleaning our mess up, either. So, God 'rolled up His sleeves'*, became one of us (Jesus Christ) and cleaned up that mess (dying on the cross to pay back Himself for the cost of our sins). "If you grasp this idea first, then nature really properly can become a teaching tool for you. Because then you will know what is real, and you can relate what you take in with your senses back to the truth of Jesus Christ.
*"[Yahweh] saw that there was no one. . . to intercede; so His own arm worked salvation for Him." (Isaiah 60:16)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

No Separation

For I have become persuaded that
OO-tuh THAHN-ah-toss OO-tuh zow-AY
(Neither death nor life)
OO-tuh AHNG-ell-oy Oh-tuh arCH-EYE
(Neither angels nor principalities)
OO-tuh en-es-TOW-tah OO-tuh MELL-on-tah
(Neither things present nor things to come)
OO-tuh dy-NA-mice
(Nor, yet, powers),
OO-tuh HYPS-oh-mah OO-tuh BATH-oss
(Neither height nor depth)
OO-tuh tiss KTISS-iss hett-AIR-ah
(Nor, yet, any other created thing)
Shall be able to separate us from the Love of God
Which is in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

---St. Paul, Romans 8: 38-39

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The "Poe" College Student

Once upon a midnight dreary
While I pondered weak and weary
O'er forgotten volumes literary,
Having no time to go and make merry
As the words on the page grew small and bleary
And thoughts of "Dreamland" warm and cheery:
I, finding myself no longer wary
Let out a shriek that was really quite scary:
Quoth my raving, "Nevermore!"
---C. Marie Byars, 1985

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