Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Enduring Truth

For everyone, in every age, and every generation...


Monday, 29 September 2008


"I feel just like I'm sinking, and I claw for solid ground,
I'm pulled down by the undertow, I never thought I could feel so low,
In all the darkness, I feel like letting go". Sarah Mc Lachlan

We can have it all. Money, property, health, great vacations, everything the good life can provide,
and yet, we can be as empty inside as a vast, bare cathedral, where the only interruption is the noise of our own frantic thoughts as we rush to 'keep up' in the hollow thing we have foolishly tagged as 'life'.

It's no doubt unusual in this busy world - to stop and look upon this reality, but I often feel these days that this is a truth which haunts us just beneath the surface of our creaking planet.
So many live so frantically, because just below that veneer, where you can almost taste fear, they live so totally and entirely....alone.

In the days prior to our fall into this misery, something of the tragedy of this estate was, no doubt intentionally, touched upon in those earliest moments in Eden.

There, as the creative deeds of the Lord come to a crescendo, when all the 'furnishings' are in place and man is brought forth to focus the new order upon its maker- the universe, finely prepared to allow an expression of God's majesty and care, it is then found to be short of what is crucially needed to make it truly good.

Man simply cannot live alone amidst such a realm. To be truly whole and fulfilled, there must be another which is truly part of him, part of the world and also uniquely themselves as well.

The making of Eve brings about not only a physical completion to the life of the created order, it teaches us that our lives can only truly be 'complete' when they are part of something more than just ourselves.
Our actions, cares, passions and desires only become inherently enriched and vital when we see how they 'clothe' the life of those we care about, granting them the ability to flourish and know a measure of some degree of mending in parts of their time here.

Having lost many who are close to me, I still find that this 'work', this giving to bring a deeper beauty or joy, is one of the richest things we can do with our days here, and this is indeed the 'pattern' to which we have been called - to give that there may indeed be something deeper and truly enduring.

The poison of the fall from the garden means we all know the cold of loneliness. In a world where we have become so deeply severed from all that we were meant to be, where death and pain mark and shadow every waking moment, it could not be otherwise,
but as a song I once heard stated, 'He has hallowed this path of sorrow' - Christ has taken the very horror of our existence and made it the means of His victory, His giving of the life of God back to His fallen children. As we can know love, can share love, life and death can now become defined by something far deeper than our oh so real pain and sorrow.

The call though the 'valley' we walk is one to a table, richly furnished by grace, where our heads are anointed as welcomed children, where a sure and certain promise hurries us into His eternal goodness, His redeeming work towards us forever, and there is the refuge, the true haven, for all who are alone.

Jesus Christ, the one who brakes the power of our alienation, will be with us forever,
and in Him, all things are made new.

Friday, 12 September 2008

The Real State of Play

"If the origin of the solar system was brought about by accidental collisions, then the appearance of organic life was equally such, and our whole evolution derives from this.
If this is so, then all our thought processes are no more than the by product of the accidental movements of atoms...but if our thoughts are truly no more than this, why should believe them to be true? I see no reason why that one accident should be able to lead to a correct and understandable account of all further events". C S Lewis - God in the Dock.

Every once and a while, a chink appears in the 'hideous strength' that presents itself so pervasively as the incontrovertible philosophical edifice that is naturalistic scientism, the assumption that is vital to the manner of atheism strenuously confessed by certain Darwinists at present.
Just such a crack was expressed on The Humanist web page this week by Agnostic and Sociologist Steve Fuller, as a response to a pathetic review of his book, Dissent over Descent, which examines the validity of the challenge of Intelligent Design to the status quo.

You can read Mr Fuller's response for yourself here:

It really points to the fact that the issues and questions raised by our very existence are still far from being answered, and that the nature of Christianity's answer - that life here is far from an accident - cannot be ignored and must not be suppressed.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Just not good enough

"For anyone stepped in an understanding of God as Creator, love and respect should surely be a natural characteristic. If we understand all matter as God-breathed, we will not merely view it as a vehicle for an idea, or an inconvenient, transitory 'veil' to be broken through and discarded.
We will understand that genius lies in seeing 'the general in the particular' and learn 'to see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in the wild flower' . Brand & Chaplin - Art & Soul.

It's something you seem to do more as you get older (or, at least become more aware of yourself doing it..!): musing on the nature, the value and the interplay of things which surround us and which so perfectly weave into the fabric of our lives.
During the almost unceasing gray that proved to be our summer this year, there was a single day where I found myself having the opportunity to facilitate a shoot for another photographer on a beach where my late wife and I shared many rich times.
The day arrived, and whilst the shoot progressed further down the shore, I took the opportunity to relish a day of bright skies in oh so familiar and friendly surroundings. It genuinely felt, as I clambered, swam and played, that I had come home, that friends I had taken there, and Kay herself, would appear at any moment and we'd have a picnic on the beach.
That, in essence, is what inherently defines our creation - a richness of life that delights God and thereby saturates a moment with significance.

That is why all the alternative definitions of who and what we are cannot satisfy.
They are essentially devoid of what really counts - an everlasting reality where life is infused with a deep and satisfying richness and significance that never fades, never falters, never ends.

Everything which surrounds us contains within it a reality, however currently tainted by human folly, that 'hints' and glints, like some flash into something astonishing in a fairy tale, that life here is good - very good, and that if we listen hard enough, we can catch a few notes of the song which tells us the day is not far off when that truth will pervade all of creation...

"We want", noted Lewis, "something else which can hardly put into words - to truly be united to the beauty we can see... to bathe in it...Someday, we will put on that glory of which nature as now seen is but the first sketch".
That, as echoed in that first day of refreshment at the end of the creation week, is exactly what will be elemental to a realm which will glorify God forever - the hope now ours, in Jesus Christ.