It is common for agnostics and atheists to claim that religion just comforts believers. Often it means leaving one’s comfort zone. Personally, I left the comfort zone of a secure job to enter graduate school with the goal of using my knowledge of computers in God’s service. In practice this means in the service of our neighbors. Misioanaries leave the comfort of home for often dangerous work among people who are not exactly friendly.
to what shall I your love compare
Of all the things in earth and sky?
What reaches out to light and air
And binds together low and high?
Your love resembles curving space, (gravity)
Which holds all matter in its hand,
Whose fingers focus light’s quick trace,
Whose curve can even time command.
It’s cosmic web embraces all,
The wheels of stars, the grains of dust,
The airy atoms; great or small,
Nothing can escape it’s thrust.
Likewise, your love embraces all,
Each angel, sparrow, seed and hair,
Each human soul despite it’s fall,
As though it were your only care.
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What is dark matter? What is drk energy? We don’t know. Hypotheses of their nature have failed. The search is still going on, but it may take a while. All we really know is that something is making stars in galaxies move faster than they should, and something is causing the expansion of the universe to speed up instead of slowing down. These are the results of observation, not of experiment. We also observe “miracles,” events that appear to run counter to the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. We cannot dismiss observational evidence. Dark matter and dark energy are also the results of observation.
similarly, we observe miracles which seem to be due to the intgerdcession of particularly virtuous persons who have died. This is evidence that human beings somehow persist after the death of the body. Those who insist that the physical world is all there is dismiss evidence of miracles and life after death because it does not fit their frame of thought.
In the spirit of Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary:
Conservative: one who passionately defends old evils.
Liberalo: One who passionately defends new evils.
May any act, however small,
You cannot view with joy and pleasure
Disgust my taste like bitter gall,
For only You are all my treasure.
Help me Lord to use Your gifts
As You would have it, not as I.
Grant grace when resolution drifts
From pleasing You, or I shall die.
I have been angry with God for not making things a little easier. But this morning a little parable that I read somewhere popped into my mind.
A boy saw a cocoon pulsing violently as the butterfly inside tried to get out. Carefully he began to cut the cocon open with his pocketknife. His grandmother saw and drew close to watch. The cocoon was cut open without injuring the insect, but it was a por weak thihng. It was unable to fly and soon died. His grandmother explained that he had deprived it of the struggle it needed to gain strength.
Every real object has three dimensions. All are essential and none is less essential than any other. Similarly, an equilateral triangle (one with three equal sides) has three equal lines and all are necessary to form the triangle. Finalloy, consider the quantum world. We cannot imagine how something can be both a particle and a wave. It is too far outsode our human experience. Neither can we imagine three Persons in one Being. I am not a theologian, but I suspect that the Trinity is a sort of metaphor for something even more mysterious.
Let’s be contrarian. Instead of looking for bad things that happen today or ignoring the day, let’s make a special effort to notice the good things that happen today. I consider Friday the 13th to be one of my special days, a day when I’m particularly sensitive to all the good things that happen.
You can make them redemptive by uniting them with the sufferings of Christ. In Colosians Paul says “In my own body I fill up what is still lacking in the suffferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, the Church.” The following prayer may be helpful.
Unite my pain with yours.
In you do I place my hope.
In faithfulness you have afflicted me.
You wound, but you also heal.
You give and you take away.
Hallowed be your name.