Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Evening of the Year

Nearly 50 years ago an old friend wrote the following quote:
"Dusk has fallen once again, and we are in the evening of the year. In the thinning of the forests, in the lengthening of shadows, our life is seen as fleeting, our end as drawing near. Trees no longer set a limit to our vision, while through bare and nervous branches our gaze is lifted to the clouds. The sky seems incredibly higher and we appear as we truly are, less than our imaginings, more the creature.
In this season of falling leaves, of coldness and of want, we think of death. In this season of harvest, of gathering into barns or into bundles to be burned, we think of life to come."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spring into Fall

We are finally having seasonable weather, cool with some rain and fog. Until a few days ago the weather had stayed so warm that we had daffodils and daisies and groundsels in the lawn. Most peculiar was this section of the forsythia bush which had spring blossoms but fall leaves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Glory in Glass

I went back a second time this week to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh to see Dale Chihuly's magnificent glass installations. There is an enormous variety of these large installations standing among the plants in the many rooms of the conservatory. My favorites are in the last several rooms but my camera's battery failed before I got to them.

Light shining through colored glass has always been a turn on for me, stained glass windows as well as art glass. The light and color and shape give us a glimpse of the Glory of God.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Glimpses of God

The fall colors are at their height right now. As I drove home yesterday afternoon after two days away I was surprised to see how many trees has turned in such a brief time. It seems as if today's rain has made them even more vivid.

Yesterday a man I ran into asked me what I was doing in retirement. I told him that I am trying to live a more contemplative life.

"What are you contemplating," he asked.

"Mostly God in the beauty of nature around me," I answered.

"Pantheism, huh!"

"No," I said, "I think God is more than just nature."

Pantheism, if I understand it correctly, equates God and nature. While I find God in the beauty and power of nature, I also believe that God is way more than that. A hymn we sang when I was young had "Out beyond the searching of the farthest star/ Thou art evey stretching infinitely far."

God made us so that what gets into our heads and hearts comes through our senses. So when God wants to come to us the way is through our senses. The wildly varied, glorious colors of the autumn leaves are glimpses of God.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sun and fog

The sun is an appealing image of God and of God's love. In his book The Experience of God Raimon Panikkar says "The origin of the word God is Sanskrit: Dyau, day, suggests brilliance, the light, divinity (like theos in Greek). Light makes it possible to see and light gives life. It is not at all by chance that the sun is accepted universally, including by Roman Catholic Christianity, as one of the divine symbols."

The sun is always shining. Clouds and fog sometimes block it from shining on us. At night our part of the earth turns away from it.

God's constant love is always shining. The clouds of our selfishness and self-centeredness keeps God's love from us. The fog of not knowing and not caring keeps us from experiencing the full rays of God's love. In sin we can even turn away from Divine Love completely. But God's love does not stop. It is always pushing toward us, trying to turn us back or to burn off the fog and the clouds that we throw up.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Autumn Reflection 2

I like this picture better than the one in the last blog. The sky, which has been doing marvelous things lately, adds a lot to this picture. This stretch of trees seems way ahead of the rest of the woods around here in changing colors. I wonder if it is the fact that its roots get watered by the lake. We had a very dry September. Many of the leaves are just turning brown and dropping.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Autumn Reflection

It occurs to me that the brief brilliant beauty of autumn is nature's way of helping those of us who love summer to let it go. These past few days have been exceptionally beautiful. Today's sunrise was another glory. There has been very little wind so the lake is like a mirror, reflecting everything along the shore. All day my eye keeps returning to the fall colors on the opposite shore as they are reflected in the still water, reminding me to be still so I can reflect the Divine.

The days have also been exceptionally warm, even hot. So I am still swimming, hanging on to that gift of summer. The water has cooled considerably but is not unbearable.
(Clicking on picture enlarges it.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Moon Reflection

"The sky tells the glory of God, tells the genius of God's work."

Psalm 19:2 (1995 ICEL translation)

The night before last I stepped outside just before going up to bed and the moon was glorious. It was a half moon, very bright, reflecting off some thin, elongated clouds, so bright only two stars shone near it. It seemed that the air was filled with moonlight and I was caught up into this Light. It was one of those moments that seem to stop the heart and then make it stretch for something more. I tried to find words to express what I was experiencing but could only raise my arms in surrender. I went in and got a coat and stood for a long while held by the moonlight.

Earlier the same kind of clouds had made the sunset a brilliant orange display and I sat in the yard enjoying it. The next morning as I was getting ready to pray I noticed some pink in the sky, and when I looked to the east the same kind of clouds were putting on a stunning red-orange display. I grabbed my coat (it was 43 degrees) and hurried down into the front yard so I could get a better view. Bliss.