Aflame to Gaze (Seadna)

Wherefore Gregory makes the contemplative life to consist in love of God, inasmuch as through loving God we are aflame to gaze on His beauty.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II,180,1.

The heat that spreads and warms also
Serves as light to repel the dark,
That warmed and lit we may bestow
On beauty as our fixèd mark.


What is a Seadna?

November 2019 Poem-a-Day Challenge #5

Lost (Casbairdne)

This fog has hands, wandering––
Wispy bands send spiraling.
This light plays tricks, bewitching
Day and night, shade confusing.

“Where is Virgil? Can he lead?”
I plead, frantic. “I have walked
Wooded shadows aimlessly,
Couldn’t name a truth nor talk.”

I see a path at long last,
So fast by, I nearly missed
The way out of these dark clouds
Led to day and breeze-blown bliss.


Ain’t No Sunshine

This is another excerpt from my journal, this time on Psalm 27. Be sure to read the poem inspired by this same text: Hand in Front of Your Face.

Pictures of lighthouses usually accompany quotes of Psalm 27:1, but the Psalm is one of straining to see that light rather than basking in its full strength. (The lighthouse isn’t a bad association, but the pictures are usually too bright.)

Then, further, if Jesus prayed this Psalm during the three hours of midday darkness, this Psalm stands in an even more different light (pun intended).

In the midst of darkness at noon, Jesus cries “Yahweh is my light!” In answer to cries of “Save yourself!” He answers, “Yahweh is my salvation!” Armies of enemies—human and otherwise—deploy against Him, yet He will not fear but be confident in His Father.

The light in the midst of that darkness is the hope of dwelling with God, in His very presence, basking in the full strength of His radiant, glorious beauty. Vindication and freedom are found there, even if they can’t be seen—literally—now.

Now in this darkness, that light and that deliverance and that rest can seem impossibly far. Rely on His truth, His nature, His promises:

LORD, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about you:
“Seek His face.”
LORD, I will seek your face (27:7-8 CSB)

You don’t have to seek what you see clearly; you seek what must be found. When we don’t see HIs face by feeling or experience, we seek Him where He may be found: in His promises and past deliverances.

Everyone else is fallible and unreliable, even parents. Not Yahweh. His way is the only sure footing. He is the only trustworthy guide and compass.

Though He does not see now, hope says He will:

I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness
in the land of the living (27:13 CSB).

He will have to travel the valley of the shadow of death, but He will see Yahweh alive. This is resurrection hope that is resurrection power for us. This is eternal life.

Until then, until the three hours and the three days of darkness end,

Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart be courageous.
Wait for the LORD (27:14 CSB).

Hand in Front of Your Face (Fornyrðislag)

Hold up your hand before your face:
Darkness dims the lidded windows,
Prevents the palm from being seen
Even at such a close span.

When sight obscured so fully thus,
A little lamp can blaze with fury.
The smallest spark jumps and yells
And holds hope to desperate sight.

The torch toils vainly in day-view,
Blazes brilliant in midnight’s gloom.
The fog forces forgetfulness
Of merry mead-halls’ joyful clamor.

Rake and rasp hard the flint and steel,
Send many sparks aloft in the dark
That weary warriors may stagger home
And drain draughts of home’s own ale.


What is a fornyrðislag?

Bright (Dickson Nocturne)

The well-worn saying goes,
Something’s as white as snow.
But snow is bright.
The glare off it can blind.
So when it comes to mind,
Forgiv’n our crimson crimes—
But snow is bright.
It radiates, reflects—
Its glory indirect—
Light, too, is white.
It welcomes, not rejects.
But snow is bright.


Wonder Wanderings 5: Light is Smart

Wonder Wanderings is a periodic blog series at Melody+Theology, where I point out fascinating things I’ve come across in my reading wanderings. These amazing things show us an amazing God and yet another reason to marvel at His power and creativity.

refracted-1525452-639x852.jpgSnell’s Law describes how light rays bend when they pass from air into water, as they do when the sun shines into a swimming pool. Light moves more slowly in water, … and it bends accordingly to minimize its travel time. Similarly, light bends when it travels from air into glass or plastic, as when it refracts through your eyeglass lenses.

The eerie point is that light behaves as if it were considering all possible paths and then taking the best one. Nature—cue the them from The Twilight Zone—somehow knows calculus.

— Steven Strogatz, The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, 137.