disbelief and consequence

“But again He is equally present in sudden unexpected moments,
and it is the neglect of these moments that is the most fruitful source
of disbelief in Him.”

Charles Williams

(a hidden squirrel enjoys supper / Julie Cook / 2017)

the following is a question posed by a novice to his master teacher,
Elder St. Paisios the Athonite….

Q. Geronda (common name referring to a Greek Orthodox monk),
why was Moses deprived of the Promised Land for a minor fault?

A. It was not a minor fault; it was disbelief.

God had provided for the Israelites’ passage across the Red Sea [ Exodus 14:1-31],
and provided water for them at Sinai [Exodus 15:22-25; 17:1-7],
nourished them with manna [Exodus 16:1-36].
He had shown them so many marvels.
And yet, when they were once again without water, they complained.
And when God told Moses to strike the rock to get water, he doubted Him:
‘Is it possible for water to come out from the rock’ [ Numbers 1-13]?

That is why God later gave him that rule:
‘As punishment, you will see the Promised Land only from a distance
[ Deuteronomy 32:48-52].

Now if God had not provided water for them before in such a miraculous manner,
then Moses could have been somewhat justified for his disbelief.
At this point, however, there was no justification for his disbelief,
which is why God did not permit him to enter the Promised Land.”

— From the book Passions and Virtues:
Counsels of Elder St. Paisios the Athonite, vol. 5.

“This is what the Lord says:
‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.
These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words,
who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods
to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!
For as a belt is bound around the waist,
so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’
declares the Lord,
‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor.
But they have not listened.’

Jeremiah 13:9-11

Under the Sea–and a marvel to behold

(Photograph: small portion of a hand blown glass wall mural/ Overleaf Lodge/ Yachats, Oregon/ Julie Cook/2013)

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
Vincent Van Gogh

Isn’t this glass mural beautiful? I saw it, during our trip to Oregon,on a wall overlooking the Overleaf Lodge’s lobby —but only noticing it once I had made my way up to the second floor, never having noticed it when I was downstairs at the front desk. I think the colors, the images, the composition all very pretty. You’ve got to remember, this is the “old” art teacher talking.

Glass art, the blowing of such, has always amazed me. Having seen Dale Chihuly’s sculptural luminous and most often undulating glass creations as well as watching the documentaries on his studio and works in progress, plus having visited the island of Moreno in Italy where those famed “venetian” glass objects originate— I have just always marveled at this type of art….as well as having been a bit weary of it all. The whole molten liquid glass thing, working with furnaces, pipes, tongs, all that terribly unforgiving heat. Notice that Mr. Chihuly is minus an eye…….

I think it may go back to grade school and having watched the 1957 movie Johnny Tremain–based on events during the Revolutionary war. There was a scene when young Johnny was attempting to melt silver, as he was apprenticed to a silversmith (yes the one and only Paul Revere)–there was an accident and the molten silver severely burnt his hand. Ever since seeing that little scene, when I was most young and impressionable, has left me really nervous around “molten” anything….scratching volcanology off the career list early on.

The whole chemistry thing would be another kicker as science and math were never my forte, but with the knowledge of knowing what, which and how much of various chemical compounds must be mixed and heated in order to create the various colors in glass also amazes me. If you haven’t read the post of Vanilla or is Cookie a Lush, may I recommend that to you as it touches on my fascination with pretty shinny glass bottles.

I have two very old glass “goblets”/ canisters that were may grandmothers sitting on my coffee table. One is a combination of red and clear glass–very venetian… that I suspect she picked up in the 50′ or 60’s during a jaunt “across the pond”. The other one is larger, red glass but has a woodland forest scene “etched” around it’s surface that is an opaque white color of glass—I marvel over it several times a day when sitting on the couch—the whole “how in the world did they do that” running through my head.

So when I look at something such a this glass “mural”, I, once again, marvel. Marvel at the skill and craftsmanship—the patience and painstaking time spent making certain everything is just so….

Is it any wonder then that I too should marvel over something equally as exquisitely “hand” made?—“My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” (New American Standard Version Psalm 139:15)

I think about a loving creator, our loving Creator, gently and tenderly assembling, crafting, securing…especially when things get out of whack with my body, I really think about the “assemblage” known as this body of mine and really marvel over how in the world, or why in the world are things in and about me, about anyone, the way they actually are??!! Think about food that goes in the mouth, then the transformation, the various needs it serves within the body, the nutrients, the fats, the sugars, the fiber that is all distributed, the grinding the pulverizing the breaking down, and finally—the elimination of what isn’t needed—-simply amazing!!

and trust me, when that particular system gets out of whack…it’s a bad bad thing…but let’s not go there shall we…..

I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around the making of any living thing—the complexity, the depth–not merely with what goes into the physical but to the emotional, the mental, the psyche itself—the depth of such is endless and incomprehensible!!!!

How can the skeptics say there is no God?!—did this intricacy that is known as me, even though all parts are no longer working as originally intended, just pop into being??? The whole breathing and processing oxygen? The whole blood thing– the pumping, flowing and coursing through my veins?? The mere fact that all of these “systems” converge in order to function harmoniously, simultaneously and relatively silently is, simply put, amazing.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(RSV Jeremiah 1:5)

Not that I’m to be any sort of prophet mind you, but just the mere knowledge that He knew me when—that He knew me before–that He knew me, that He knows me, and that He will always know me—that He will always claim me—even though others “down” here may not claim me—-oh to rest in that sweet comfort.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 New International Version)

After the way this week has traversed—I am clinging to that promise—