Canto

When a child draws, he doesn't intend to distort, but to set down exactly what he sees. And as his gaze is direct, he sees the lines that create motion.

—Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners (paraphrased)
As a writer, she intends to see the lines of spiritual motion.

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Praying with the Spirit

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words but I do not feel or think them.

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words thinking about what I say, but not feeling them.

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words and I both think and feel what I say.

An act of will cannot make me feel, nor stop my mind from wandering. An act of will can only make me utter.

So, I shall utter the words and let the Spirit do the rest, guiding my mind and heart as he wills.

—A celtic prayer (unattributed);
as quoted by Doug McKelvey on The Habit podcast (episode page)

End of the World

—"Ende der Welt"
Drachenflug

First heard in Enderal: Forgotten Stories.

Mountain Song

Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

I took this photo in September 2019, on the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. The tour guide told us that what we were seeing is rare: a full view of the mountain from foot to peak, without any cloud covering. God's blessing to us.

Some time ago, I received a vision from the Holy Spirit while worshipping in church. I was standing on a mountain peak taller than Qomolangma, above the cloud cover, looking at range upon range of mountains stretching in all directions. There was nothing but earth beneath me, and sky above me, and the presence of the Lord all around me. I looked at the mountains, and it seemed that I beheld them in their primordial, pre-Fall state: pristine mountains before man's foot tread on them, mountains that only beheld the face of God. I saw these pristine mountains between cloud and sky, and something in my heart ached with terrible longing.

"Lord, this is beautiful, so beautiful," I said.

The Holy Spirit said, "Behold."

And, from horizon to horizon, the mountains began to sing.

In church, I remember falling facedown on the ground, my body and soul reverberating with this titanic song. It was an undescribable experience, like beholding a vast beauty that exceeds human dimensions and comprehension. The song and the vision lasted only a short time, but even now I can hear/feel/sense the echo of it, and my soul aches again.

O God, when you restore creation, I want to come back to this place, and hear the mountains singing their ancient praises to you.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements -- surely you know!
Or who has stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

—Book of Job, ch. 38, v. 4-7

Good human work honors God’s work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit.

—Wendell Berry, "Christianity and The Survival of Creation”,
via Alan Jacobs
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Unpublished poem by George MacDonald

Go not forth to call Dame Sorrow
From the dim fields of Tomorrow;
Let her roam there all unheeded,
She will come when she is needed;
Then, when she draws near thy door,
She will find God there before.

—George MacDonald, unpublished poem;
recited by Jerry Root at Hutchmoot Homebound, October 2021

Letter Full of Promises

A love letter full of promises. That's right. Have you ever had one? ... Well I have, and I'm gonna recite it to you. If you had one, you'd know just how I feel. And it goes like this.

Oh, darling, do not now be lonely,
lonely anymore
I shall be the lover
Waiting at your door, oh love

Letter full of promises

Oh, dearest, I shall be the moonlight
In the clear blue air
And the sparkling stardust
That will kiss your hair, oh love

Letter full of promises

Oh, sweetheart, I shall be the sunshine
Calming down your fears
And the gentle breezes
Cooling off your tears, oh love

Letter full of promises

Honey, I shall be the shadow
Lying at your feet
Longing to embrace you
When again we shall meet

Darling, do not now be lonely
Lonely anymore
For I am here beside you
Here forevermore.

--"Teenager's Letter Of Promises" (1959), Juanita Rogers;
sampled by Ben Babbitt for Kentucky Route Zero, interlude "The Entertainment"

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Peat Bog on Jæren (1900). Kitty Kielland.
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Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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