Yancey meditations

Time for a little inspiration!

Personally, I don’t read all that much.  There’s so much information rocketing toward me that I don’t naturally turn to more words — even words on a page, as opposed to words on a screen — for leisure.  But lately, having enjoyed a novel for the first time in years, I’ve been exploring books a little more.  Besides the book I’m about to quote from, I have these on my desk currently:

  • a book about Patrick Conway (the unsung band leader from the time of Sousa)
  • the famous 1960s novel The Andromeda Strain
  • a book about the parables and beatitudes
  • a few about the Galatian and Thessalonian letters
  • one about the first 20 years of Christianity
  •  another about the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • one about interpretation of musical phrases
  • a compendium on the theology of Luke’s Acts narrative
  • two books on conducting (one specifically on conducting Brahms, and one brand-new, general one)
  • Grisham’s The Associate
  • a collection of short stories
  • a novelette by an author unknown to me
  • plus, a couple of free downloaded books on my smartphone — authored by Austen and Verne

No way will I read all of these, but I will read at most of them, and I’m in the process of selecting a half-dozen to focus on.  This week, too, I will finish the recording of Genesis — the first book of Moses.

But for today, may I share some inspirational quotes from a Christian author I believe to be among the top five in our generation.  The remainder of this post will be quoted.

About the same time I read Chet Raymo, I went to see a film taken by a Space Shuttle crew with a special format Omnimax camera.  The lightning storms impressed me most. Viewed from space, lightning flashes on and off in a random pattern of beauty, Illuminating cloud cover several hundred miles wide at a burst.  It flares, spread across an expense, glows, then pales.  Most eerily, it makes no sound.

I was struck by the huge difference perspective makes.  On earth, families huddled indoors, cars hid under highway overpasses, animals cowered in the forest, children cried out in the night.  Transformers sparked, creeks flooded, dogs howled.  But from space we only saw a soft, pleasant glow, enlarging then retreating, an ocean tide of light. . . .

 ~ ~ ~

From “Commander Richard Byrd’s account of a six-month sojourn of solitude in Antarctica”:

The conviction came that rhythm was too orderly, too harmonious, too perfect to be a product of blind chance — that, therefore, there must be purpose in the whole and that man was part of that whole and not an accidental offshoot.  It was a feeling that transcended reason; that went to the heart of man’s despair and found it groundless.  The universe was a cosmos, not a chaos; man was rightfully a part of that cosmos as were the day, and night.

It takes great effort, and considerable faith, to keep The Big Picture in mind.  In some ways it makes me feel insignificant, in some ways eternally significant.  If the God who engineered creation with such precision professes some whit of interest in what takes place on this speck of a planet, the least I can do is wander away from the street lights more often, and look up.

– Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places (1995), pp. 23-25

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