Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens*, and thrush**
Through the echoing timber does so rise and wring
The ear, it strides like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing limbs, too, have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden---have, get before it cloy***
Innocent mind and Mayday**** in girl and boy,
Most, O Maid's Child*****,

Thy choice and worth the winning.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, may 1877

*Eggs the color of the sky & reminders of it
**Thrush: the songbird, not the yeast-related infection (ha, ha!!)
***Cloy: to satiate, us. w/something pleasing. Basically, hurry to enjoy this fleeting reminder of Eden before it is spoiled, as the first Eden was by sin
****Mayday: May 1st. Celebrated in Europe with flowers & folk dances. (Happy Mayday! Also, Blessed Ascension. This year, the day commemorating Jesus's bodily Ascension through the clouds, after which we could no longer see Him physically, is also May 1st.)
*****Maid's Child: The Virgin's Son, Jesus. (Roman Catholics devote all of May to Mary.) This suggests that Jesus would choose the "innocent" boys & girls more than anyone else. Actually, no one's innocent & God loves all us rotten sinners just the same.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Birds in Scripture

My soul longed, even yearned
For the courts of Yahweh.
My mind* and my flesh
Cry out to the Living God.
Even the songbird** has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself
Where she may lay her young---
Your altars, Oh Yahweh of Armies,
My King and my God! (Psalm 84:2-3)

(Yahweh says)
"I know every bird in the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the forest are Mine." (Ps. 50:11)

In Yahweh have I trusted:
How do you [plural: "y'all"] say to my soul,
"Flee as a bird to your [plural] mountain"?? (Ps. 11:1)

(O, Yahweh),
Keep me as the apple of Your eye:
In the shadow of Your wings hide me. (Ps. 17:8)

"As birds flying around,
Thus will Yahweh of Armies protect Jerusalem.
Defending, he will deliver.
He will 'pass over' and protect." (Isaiah 31:5)

Mighty Yahweh,
You have made yourself known in your Son, Jesus.
Through His crucifixion,
You have established for us a "New Passover"
Where You "pass over" the wrongs we do
And the failures to do right.

As Jesus said, make us to trust
The way the ravens do
"Which niether sow (grain) nor reap
Nor gather (food) into barns"
And are yet fed by our Heavenly Father.
(Matthew 6:25-27 & Luke 12:22-24)

We are worth so much more to You
And, yet, we fill up our lives
With things that are worthless.
Forgive us, love us, and keep working in us
To give us the simple trust of your little birds.

[original Bible translations & explanatory verses]

*Literally "heart", which ancient Hebrews considered the seat of the intellect.
**"Sparrow" in some translations

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flowers & Grasses in Scripture

"'Man, born of woman,
is of few days, full of turmoil.
As a flower he springs forth
and fades away;
And as a fleeting shadow,
he does not last.'" (Job14:1-2)
"Man--his days are as grass;
As a flower of the field he thus flourishes." (Psalm 103:15)
"They are in the morning
as
new grass which springs up.
In the morning it springs and grows;
in the evening it withers and dries out." (Ps. 90:5b-6)
"A voice says, 'Cry out!'
And I say, 'What shall I cry?'
[God replies],
'All flesh is green grass
and all its loveliness as the flower of the field.'
The grass withers, the flower fades
because the Spirit [or 'breath'] of Yahweh blows upon it.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the Word of God shall stand forever." (Isaiah 40:6-8)
[Messiah says]
"'I am the Crocus* of Sharon,
the Lily of the Valleys.'" (Song of Songs 2:1)
[Because of Messiah Jesus]:
"The wilderness and parched land will be glad;
And the desert-plain will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus it will bloom profusely
And rejoice greatly and shout for joy." (Isaiah 35:1-2a)
----original translations

*not really "rose of Sharon"---it's a crocus in Hebrew!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just Say "No"

to Faux Environmentalism

Corn-based bio-fuel is not the right choice for lowering green-house gases: it actually makes the problem worse due to the agricultural energy expended to create this product. This practice also drives up food costs. The best choice in bio-fuel is algae based, although it will initially be more expensive to produce. Hybrid cars are not as earth-friendly as their makers promise, either. The making and disposing of those batteries creates toxic heavy metal areas. Better ideas? Why not make more progress on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) autos? That burns fairly cleanly. And work harder to make hydrogen cars a reality. Solar and wind cars might be an interesting idea, too, but they might not work in all climates, and the storage means for that type of energy could prove to be toxic, also, if not developed properly.

BTW: Even if you don't believe that there is human-driven global warming, it is beyond dispute that our waste products are not good for us. (NO organism can live in its own waste!) Pollution from factories & cars creates or furthers asthma and can eat away at classic building facades and statues in big cities. The process for bleaching all those nice white paper napkins & coffee filters creates serious carcinogens (such as what devastated Times Beach years ago) & so on. I keep hoping & praying that simple things like brown paper goods will catch on & become cheaper & more mainstream at the grocery. (After all, they're avoiding a step that costs money.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vivaldi's Spring

[This is the explanatory sonnet Antonio Vivaldi wrote to preface the "Spring" Concerto, part of the "Four Seasons" Cycle.]

ALLEGRO
Spring has arrived,
And joyfully the birds greet her with glad song,
[FLOWING STREAMS]/LEGATO
While at the Zephyr's* breath
The streams flow forth with a sweet murmur.

Her chosen heralds, thunder and lightning,
Come to envelop the air in a black cloak;
Once they have fallen silent, the little birds
Return anew to their melodious incantation.

LARGO
Then on the pleasant, flower-bedecked meadows,
To the happy murmur of fronds and plants,
The goatherd sleeps next to his trusty dog.

ALLEGRO
To the festive sound of rustic bagpipes
Nymphs and shepherds dance beneath
The beloved sky
At the glorious appearance of spring.
----Antonio Vivaldi

*Zephyr: the warm west wind

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Something's UN-Natural Here

A REQUIEM

[I prefer to write rhymed & rhythmic, or at least alliterative, poems. There wasn't time this time. Also, this is generally not an issue-oriented blog. But I had to make this exception.]

Something's afoul on England's pleasant soil:
The egg's a cow's; the nucleus a human's;
The purpose is subhuman.

Your false-creators say they're not cloning humans:
Your development is stopped at 14 days;
Your cells are still all of one type---
The type they want to take from you.

But you are human---you must be
With your 46 chromosomes
And your human DNA.
You are the smallest of my distant cousins.

I was outraged enough when such false-creators
Made "Day-Glo" monkeys with jellyfish genetics---
Just because they could.
They said it was "learning";
I said it was sadism because
"An upright person acknowledges

the life-force of his animal." (Proverbs 12:10a)
God gave us all these animals to care for, too,
At the beginning of time,
Before human evil entered
And separated them from us.

And, now, O Lord God Yahweh,
You who brought down human hubris
By instilling many languages at Babel:
Will you not now come and confuse this language
If we cannot use the genetic code more wisely?

You who told Job
That You had fixed the limits of the sea (Job 38:10),
Will You not stem this tide, also?
If You will not do it Yourself,
Will You not show us the right way to be the seawall
Before this sea of technology drowns the helpless?
Do we need to bear our crosses better?
Do we need to relearn the meaning of sacrifice?
What better thing must we do than shout slogans
Or retaliate with violence ourselves?
What great cost must we bear
To be truly seen and heard?

The false-creators claim they are
Preserving human life.
They say they can extend others' lives.
But, why?
The True Creator tells us
"There's a time to be born
And a time to die." (Ecclesiastes 3:2a)
And I reiterate, "For me to live is Christ;
For me to die is great gain." (Philippians 1:21)

But these false-creators have a different logic:
The survival of the fittest.
But if they follow their own logic,
Why should we continuously preserve existing life
If what comes after us is to be better?
Science claims logic
But scientists often lack it.

And, you, my dear little relatives---
When time ends and this world winds down
Will the Mighty and Gracious Yahweh
Clothe You in the Righteousness of Christ,
Although you never heard the Name of "Jesus"?
Will He fashion for you the fully formed body
Which you never enjoyed in this lifetime?
I do not know. I do not know.
His wisdom is sometimes inscrutable.
I can only hope. . .
I can only hope. . .

---Marie Byars, April 2008