A SUDDEN GOLDFINCH
The branch is bare and black against the fog;
Cold droplets bead along the twigs, and fall.
The hours are passing, ready to be gone,
And now they’re past, dissolved, beyond recall,
Beyond my reach. A sudden goldfinch clings
And bends the twig so slightly with its weight
It seems as if it’s painted on: its wings
In motion are a glimpse of summer, bright,
Quick, and now already gone. This moment,
So brief but still so clear against the blur
Of unattended time, in memory
Connects the things that are, the things that were.
Fleeting as it is, almost a ghost,
It may be time is never truly lost.
In a paper given to The Oxford Socratic Club entitled, Is Theology Poetry?, C.S. Lewis wrote “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen: not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” Achieving a holistic understanding of the cosmos requires revelation, and we know there is more much than our senses can perceive. Certainly dogs hear sounds we cannot and the eagle’s eye is different from our own. Intuitively we know there is much more, yet we tilt to arrogance in daily living.
Here, we must take a careful, searching look at our own beliefs and how we act on them. Given the cultural pressures from reductive scientism and naturalism, and the relentless materialism of our consumer culture, it is very easy (and all too common) even for well-discipled Christians to have a somewhat impoverished worldview. Many Christians tend to think of the supernatural realm as including only God and nothing more—and in such a view, ‘God’ often ends up being seen as not particularly supernatural either.
But the full Christian view is of a dynamic cosmos: with the communion of saints, the great “cloud of witnesses,” actively interested in the affairs of their brothers and sisters and interceding for them; angels who are active in God’s service; demons who are active in rebellion; and the network of connections formed by prayer and intercession among Christians.
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John 1: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Meet The Author
Dr Holly Ordway is Professor of English and faculty in the M.A. in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University; she holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
She is the author of Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017) and Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014), and she has contributed chapters to C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner (edited by Michael Ward and Peter S. Williams), C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most (edited by David Werther) among other volumes; she is also a published poet, with poems in Word in the Wilderness and Love, Remember (edited by Malcolm Guite).
Her academic work focuses on the writings of the Inklings, especially C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Her current book project is Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (forthcoming from Kent State University Press, 2019).
She lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and travels regularly to speak on Tolkien, Lewis, and imaginative apologetics.
Photo of Holly Ordway by Lancia E Smith