C.S. Lewis said “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.” Understanding the cosmos requires revelation, for 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.
I hope you have been enjoying our summer read, Malcolm Guite’s Mariner about the life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This week we are on Chapter Seven titled “Instead of the Cross, the Albatross”
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Coleridge wrote his famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in 1797 when he was only 25 years old. The poem is about the chance encounter of a young man who is late to a wedding and an old mariner he meets along the way. Even though he’s late, the mariner’s story is so compelling, he has no choice but to listen, and his life is changed by it.
Thirty years later, Coleridge had a chance encounter of his own with John Keats who he met on a walk. Keats was moved by the great, white-maned man, and wrote
In these two miles he broached a thousand things,” among them nightingales, dreams, mermaids, and sea monsters. I heard his voice as he came towards me—I heard it as he moved away—I heard it all the interval.
It reminds us of our favorite Bible story of another chance encounter on the road to Emmaus. Luke, the greatest storyteller in the Bible, wrote about two people who met a stranger whose stories changed their lives as well. This stranger explained the Bible in ways they had never heard before. Like the Ancient Mariner, it was compelling because it was told firsthand.
How many times have we sat spellbound at the feet of grandparents or others as they told us the stories of their lives? Here we have Jesus Himself explaining the Old Testament from a firsthand point of view! Eternal God, briefly confined by time, illuminating the eons by breaking bread.
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