Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Speaking of Glory...

Speaking of Glory, our trip last week to Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon was filled with encounters with unspeakable Glory (I think that is the best kind--when something puts you beyond words). As I look at this picture, taken on my 55th birthday (a landmark with Glory all its own), it almost looks faked, like standing in front of some blown-up picture postcard.  It was, however, the real deal.

Look what happens when God's ruach blows through Mother Nature's handiwork! (ruach is Hebrew for spirit/breath/wind).  I'm talking about the Canyon, of course, not the "little" guy in front of it. But then, the "little" guy is so very grateful to be in this place at this time.  I look happy and I am, although there are still many days when I struggle for this state of being.

Now back among the hills and fields of the Southern Tier of Western New York, spring is springing. The hills are developing that light green cast as the leaves begin to poke through the buds. What a wonder creation is. There is such glory in the desert we spent several days exploring last week, and such glory in this very different landscape I see out my window this morning.  It makes me think of one of my favorite Gerard Manley Hopkins poems:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to 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 ah! bright wings.

In the late 19th century, Hopkins could already see the damage done to the creation by humankind, although 125 years or more later we might not be so sure that "nature is never spent." And yet, nature, the creation, is still charged with the glory of God.

Here's a couple more pictures:
The Verde Canyon:  Oasis in the desert.
A sample of the red rocks that surround Sedona, Arizona, which was home base for us.

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