October 18, 2017

Pic & Poem of the Week: August 14, 2016

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

(Click on picture for larger image)

• • •

For is there a thought in the wide world so sweet,
As that God has so cared for us, bad as we are,
That He thinks of us, plans for us, stoops to entreat,
And follows us, wander we ever so far?

From The Remembrance of Mercy
by Frederick William Faber

Comments

  1. a path through tall trees
    cuts across their long shadows
    into sunlit day

  2. a bright cloudless day
    arrives at my front door, as
    if with the paper

  3. I like to think that God is ahead of us, however far we wander, not that he “..follows us..”

    And I have stopped thinking that he does so “..bad as we are..”. We humans are mixtures of bad and good, and perhaps frequent badness often outweighs rarer goodness, I’m not sure; but adopting a “worm anthropology” has not paid off for me personally, nor has it seemed to for the human race. I avoid thinking and speaking in that way. We may do bad things, but we are not ontologically bad; and I don’t care what “orthodox” theology, in any of it flavors, says to the contrary.

    • I see what you’re saying, Robert, but the thing that intrigued me about the poem was the decision to write it in the form of a question, and as a question, it’s an excellent one.

      • I didn’t mean to be critical of the entire poem; I like it, with the caveats I stated.

        I saw that it was phrased as a question, but I took the question to be rhetorical, implying the necessity of the answer, “No, there is not a thought in the world so sweet” : was I incorrect?

        • And I didn’t mean to sound critical of you. I agree with your points, and I took the question as rhetorical, too, But then I thought…Well, rhetorical or not, that’s a really good question!

      • But let me answer the question: No, there is likely no thought so sweet, but it’s a thought I often have a hard time entertaining and holding to. I can only hope that he continues to be there, though my awareness of, and thoughts about, his presence falter.

        • Christiane says:

          You have the heart of a poet, ROBERT, this: ” I can only hope that He continues to be there, though my awareness of, and thoughts about, His presence falter.”

          “I have no wit, no words, no tears;
          My heart within me like a stone
          Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;
          Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
          I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief
          No everlasting hills I see;
          My life is in the falling leaf:
          O Jesus, quicken me.”

          (Christina Rossetti)

  4. >> I like to think that God is ahead of us . . .

    Me too, Robert. The sheep analogy isn’t very complimentary but it’s probably apt. Supposedly shepherds in Jesus’ part of the world move sheep from in front. In the west we drive flocks from behind, often with dogs nipping at the heels. At the same time Jesus spoke of going out to seek the wandering one, and I have certainly wandered thru this life, disdaining the flock. I’m with you on the worm anthropology. People are capable of some mind-boggling, stomach-turning exploitation of neighbor and earth in service to self, and I have to cop to my own share of this problem along the way, but the only people I know of who are totally depraved are Calvinists. It doesn’t seem to help matters much. God appears to think we are worth going out in the night in His pj’s with a flashlight calling our name. All of us.

    • Yes, perhaps I should’ve said, I like to think that God is ahead, behind, to our left and right, above, below and within us, however far we wander.

      • There you go! 😉

      • Dana Ames says:

        Christ as a light illumine and guide me; Christ as a shield overshadow me;
        Christ under me, Christ over me, Christ beside me on my left and my right.

        -the Lorica of St Patrick

    • Speaking of the sheep analogy, it’s actually pretty awesome in describing things. I recommend Phillip Keller’s excellent, line by line examination of Psalm 23, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” An easy read, filled with actual shepherd examples of what the “analogy” means.

      https://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Looks-Psalm-23/dp/0310274419

    • Not embracing a worm anthropology doesn’t mean I’m not aware that I need forgiveness on a daily, hourly or even more frequent basis. I do need such forgiveness, even more than I’m aware of it, and in places I’m not aware of it. To say that I like to think that God is ahead of me is to say that I hope he forgives me before I ask, and even if I don’t know that I should ask, and even if I die before I get a chance to ask, or before come to realize I should ask.