The public narrative (news and history) is like watching actors in a play. However, the actors have stumbled into the notion that the play is reality. They react to each other and the narrative within the play, but the reality off-stage (which is the rest of the whole world) is nowhere in sight. We might easily conclude that the entire idea of a public narrative is absurd (and it is, largely).
But people are story-tellers. If you ask, “What’s happening?” the answer will take some sort of story form. Apparently, God is a story-teller as well. In St. John’s gospel we read:
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18)
The Latin translation of this verse says that the only-begotten Son “narrates” Him (enarravit). And this is precisely the case. The Christian claim is that Christ Himself is the story of the universe. He is the author and the protagonist. He is the meaning of the true story. Every sub-story (my life and yours) gains its meaning and purpose from the greater story of which they are a part.
I could not stop watching slide shows of the arrival of the Kursk-root icon in Russia, and the procession with it a few days later.
The icon was originally found near Kursk several centuries ago. It belongs to the Russian church abroad, and its home is currently in the U.S.A.
Why? Who cares? some people asked me. What have I got to do with Russians making an incredible fuss over this antique, as it seems? You can see from the pictures here, a very few of the riveting images on the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia website, that thousands did go to extreme effort to honor it and be near it.
I wanted to write something very illuminating for those of you who might ask these questions. But in making the attempt, I realized how much a beginner and a child I am; I am still learning the answers to these questions myself. But I am learning by belonging and growing up here, in the Church, which is also there in Kursk. Those are my people.
I don’t stare at the faces and the churches because I am trying to figure out the answers, but out of love for my Church and Church family, and extreme thankfulness that I belong to Christ and His Church, where we are taught to love His mother. Not a theoretical church of individuals who argue theology, but a living and present people who are learning theology by worshiping together. A great force, the army of God’s love, the throng of needy souls who have found the Source of everything.
The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it.–Simone Weil 10-6-09
The process of living seems to consist in coming to realize truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, they sound like barren platitudes. They cannot sound otherwise to those who have not had the relevant experience: that is why there is no real teaching of such truths possible and every generation starts from scratch. –C.S. Lewis 9-21-09
[God] is not proud…He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.— C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain9-15-09
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. –Helen Keller 9-7-09
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
— Ben Hecht9-6-09 Of course, nowadays newspapers are little read, and people get their news from TV or the Internet. It’s the daily-ness of the news that is not helpful, whatever form it comes in. We need to be looking at trends, rather than news bites and bits, and thinking of how the trends fit into the context of history and tradition, in order to figure out “what is going on in the world,” and more importantly, its significance.
Many of the kinds of quotes I like are like little philosophy exercises, brain stretchers. Some are more like meditations that stretch my heart toward my Lord. Some are humorous or ironic expressions of truth. From my large collection I hope to offer a weekly example, with the following recommendations:
“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations… The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.” -Winston Churchill
“I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.” – D.L. Sayers
“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” -Andre Gide