The Inferno

“When it became clear that the death warrant for hundreds of thousands
of Irish babies was about to be signed, it broke my heart.
When I saw the grotesque pictures of people dancing in the streets in
celebration it was like a scene out of Dante’s Inferno.”

David Robertson


(Dante)

Dante degli Alighieri was a 14th century Florentine who is most remembered for the epic
poems he composed into a collection known as The Divine ComedyInferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso
in other words, Hell, Purgatory and finally Paradise.

The collection of 3 poems are as epic as they are brilliant.
An allegory for what Dante believed were his own dark days and yet sadly for us,
during these trying days of our own, his words are most timely as they remain as a
reflective mirror—reflecting the emptiness of our own darkness.

As noted by a description on Wikipedia,
“it [hell] is the “realm…
of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites
or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice
against their fellowmen”.

Our friend the Wee Flea, the Scottish Pastor David Robertson, continues in his most
recent post which piggybacks off of the post he wrote just following the passing of the
referendum in Ireland rescinding the ban on abortion, as a most troubling sign of the times.

David likens much of what we are witnessing coming out of Ireland, in particular
what is coming out of the capital of Dublin, with its now jubilant party-like atmosphere
following the passage of the vote,
as something that could be straight out of the pages of Dante’s Inferno.

David notes that the vote, which is in itself bad enough in its own right, almost pales in
comparison to the near-hysterical celebratory mania that has followed the referendum’s passage…
a frenzied jumbled hoopla that is more than disturbing, it is downright barbaric.

Think about it…
a vote passed with an overwhelmingly large percentage in favor of the right to
terminate pregnancies up to 12 weeks…meaning that a mother can decide to
legally kill her unborn child, and the people are celebrating as if some massive
and oppressive enemy has just been finally and thankfully defeated.

Some sort of David and Goliath moment but so utterly far from such.

Prior to this vote, women in Ireland who wished to terminate their pregnancy
had to travel to Britain.

Yet today, women from around the globe are now proclaiming this latest referendum as
a giant victory in the way of women’s rights.
It’s that whole notion of ‘it’s my body, it’s my choice’ nonsense.

But what of it no longer being just your body involved?
Technically it is no longer the choice of a single individual because there are
actually, two bodies now involved.

And if the truth be told, it is not merely a singular choice or even a choice of two…
but rather it is a choice that truthfully involves three…

Yet oddly we never seem to hear about nor count the male who was involved
and assisted in the occurrence of this now rather ominous choice that is proclaimed as
being a singular choice.

David startingly notes that the whereas the politicians and the media have each
joined in the festivities proclaiming this referendum as a victory for the people…
the collective body of Church families has remained eerily silent.

The Catholic Chruch, silent.
The Anglican Chruch, silent.
The Chruch of Scotland, silent
The Free Chruch, silent.
The Baptist Chruch, silent.

A few clergy members here and there have voiced their sorrow but as far as a collective
Christian body response, the voices remain silent…

My favorite quote by Dante:
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis,
maintain their neutrality.”

Perhaps the Chruch needs a reminder of the volumes her indifference speaks…

The Irish Referendum – the Repercussions

Matt. 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,
“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in
the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble,
it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be
drowned in the depths of the sea.

Monday in a meadow

Nevertheless there are certain peaks, canons, and clear meadow spaces which are above all compassing of words, and have a certain fame as of the nobly great to whom we give no familiar names.
Mary Hunter Austin

DSC01776
(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)


“Brown wings among the browner grass
And breast all brightening yellow —
Pipes up from meadows as we pass
The lark’s call, clear and mellow;
Now wakes the burnished dragonfly
Beside the glinting river,
That shakes with silent laughter where
The iris banners quiver;
Now on the budding poplar boughs
The tuneful blackbirds perch:
For the catkin’s on the willow
And the tassel on the birch.”

Excerpt form Spring in the Meadow
by Mary Hunter Austin

DSC01785
(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)

DSC01790
(dragon fly / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2015)

small wonders amongst the heather

“I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in Heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot, As if a chart were given.”
Emily Dickinson

RSCN6500
(cobweb skipper feeding on the heather–Mexican Heather as Scottish Heather cannot tolerate Georgia’s heat / Julie Cook / 2014)

Flowers of the Moorland
Wild flowers of the moorland, ye are very dear to me;
Ye lure my dreaming memory as clover does the bee;
Ye bring back all my childhood loved, when freedom, joy and health
Had never thought of wearing chains to fetter fame and wealth.

Wild blossoms of the common land, brave tenants of the earth,
Your breathings were among the first that helped my spirit’s birth;
For how my busy brain would dream and how my heart would burn,
Where gorse and heather flung their arms above the forest fern.

Eliza Cook
(English poet 1818-1889)

RSCN6507
(cobweb skipper and bumble bee feeding on the heather / Julie Cook / 2014)

RSCN6508
(cobweb skipper feeding on the heather / Julie Cook / 2014)

Forged, annealed and refined

“Life’s a forge! Yes, and hammer and anvil, too! You’ll be roasted, smelted, and pounded, and you’ll scarce know what’s happening to you. But stand boldly to it! Metal’s worthless till it’s shaped and tempered!”
― Lloyd Alexander

DSCN4785

“I will bring the one–third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.”

Isaiah 48:10

Temperatures escalate unbearably as salty sweat drips from a weary brow.
A strained arm crashes forcibly downward as metal strikes metal.
Deafening sounds reverberate off surrounding walls.

The hammer hits again, over and over
as the bellows work furiously pumping life into smoldering embers
The hotter the heat the more impurities are expunged.

What makes a metal precious?
Is it easily forged?
Does it corrode?
Is it strong?
Does it conduct a current?
Does it possess a monetary value?
Does it hold a luster?

Is it not the heat?
The fire?
The hammering?
The beating?
The cooling?
The polishing?
Is it not the work,
the forging,
the tempering
which exposes the value?

The focused hand raises the hammer.
The soul lays bare on the anvil.
The continued strikes disperse the molecules.
As it is thrust, without regret, back into the fire.
Heated throughout until glowing red,
The hammer strikes again.
Suddenly without warning is the emersion
The cold water drawing back the stretched fibers

Over and over, again and again
in and out, heated and cooled. . .
Until what was once weak, dirty and unrecognizable,
is finally made strong.
The sheen now reflecting the image of the
satisfaction of the blacksmith.

(*****Thank you all for prayers yesterday for my son. We don’t know much more than we did before the procedure but that there is no surgery for now, just more meds. The thought is that there may be nerve damage, of which Prayer, most assuredly, will be what is imperative to the healing process—I am grateful for the continued prayer of healing)

A Trinity Tale

“The mystery of the Trinity is the mystery of Holiness: the Glory and the Power of the Trinity is the Glory and Power of God who makes us holy. There is God dwelling in light inaccessibly, a consuming fire of Holy Love, destroying all that resists, glorifying into its own purity all that yields. There is the Son, casting Himself into that consuming fire, whether in its eternal blessedness in heaven, or its angry wrath on earth, a willing sacrifice, to be its food and its satisfaction, as well as the revelation of its power to destroy and to save. And there is the Spirit of Holiness, the flames of that mighty fire spreading on every side, convicting and judging as the Spirit of Burning, and then transforming into its own brightness and holiness all that it can reach. All the relations of the Three Persons to each other and to us have their root and their meaning in the revelation of God as the Holy One. As we know and partake of Him, we shall know and partake of Holiness.”
― Andrew Murray

DSCN4354

DSCN4344
(two images of two different trillium plants, Trillium cuneatum / Troup County, Georgia, the middle of nowhere in virgin woods / Julie Cook / 2014)

The tears of a forlorn Father, who wandered alone in the woods the day His Son hung on a cross, fell silently to the ground.
As the tears fell, trickling down through the scattered leaves and debris,
the Earth trembled.

The Earth, now sad for its Creator, wanted to offer comfort.
For each fallen tear, a small plant soon emerged
Three leaves with a tiny three leaved bloom
White for the purity of the sacrificed Son
Red for the innocent blood shed for all mankind

Each Spring, year after year, the trillium returns
offering to all who may wander wood and glen
a reminder . . .
The Sorrow of a grief stricken Father
The Sacrifice of selfless Son
The Grace of a transcending Spirit

“Crown Him with many crowns”

Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered… the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith… All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown.
Thomas Becket

DSCN4357
(a blooming dogwood / Julie Cook / 2014)

Dogwoods blooming turn skyward,
tinged by the rust of nails.
A thousand tiny crowns lifting to the Heavens
While the echoes of sorrow linger in the wind

Three hours, three days, three cackles of the cock
The lamb is lead to slaughter
A noose tightens as a sponge offers up bitter gall
Life and death begin a precarious slow dance
As every soul hangs in the balance between loss and hope

Arms extend upward bearing fingers stiff with pain as a head falls forward
Blood and water flow into one when the spear pierces the innocent
Assent and decent turn upside down
Limbs now frozen in place while a fierce battle rages
The tomb is sealed as day becomes night

Only mystery remains of the terrible war.
Blinding light reflects terror in bloodshot eyes
Fear lingers in the face of the defeated
As the earth shifts, a heel crushes the head of the snake
Chains fall away along with the discarded shroud
When a single pierced hand finally lifts a golden crown