The Last Faint Spark

The Last Faint Spark.

Constance, this devotional is by my favorite devotional writer Jill Carattini, and rather than copy and past it I decided to press it…

…and then copy out a poem here that she quotes.  I was stunned by this poem…and Constance?  You think I write poems??  *charissa laffs and shakes her head in wonder at the thought*

No, dear Constance…this is what a real poem, a grown up poem looks like!!  Just wow.

 

Still falls the Rain—
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss—
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter’s Field, and the sound of the impious feet

On the Tomb:
Still falls the Rain

In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us—
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain—
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man’s wounded Side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds,—those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear—
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh… the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain—
Then— O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune—
See, see where Christ’s blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree

Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world,—dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar’s laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain—
“Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee.”

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Wrinkles In Time

Good Morning Constance Dear…gosh what a difficult night it was for me!

The deconstruction of my self in order to conform to who I must be in order to earn money is a very rough thing.

It tears me apart!

One of my helps that keeps me centered and knowing myself is the devotional writings of Jill Carattini…I share this morning’s here for you.

Love and Grace, Charissa, who is suffering

tumblr_n7toayaEkz1sifsb9o1_1280“Uncanny” was one of the vocabulary words on my sixth grade vocabulary list, which was to be found within the book we were reading as a class. I remember thinking Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was exactly that—uncanny, peculiar, and uncomfortably strange. Yet I also remember that it stayed with me—the story of a quirky girl named Meg, her overly-intelligent little brother, and their time-transcending journey to save their physicist father with the help of three mysterious beings. Madeleine L’Engle, the writer whose books invite readers to see time itself differently, passed away not too long ago. But her stories will continue to perplex sixth graders, and stay with us long after we have set them aside.

L’Engle is the writer who first showed me the incredible difference between two words in Greek, which we unfortunately translate identically. To the English reader, chronos and kairosboth appear to us as “time.” But in Greek, these words are vastly different. Chronos is the time on your wristwatch, time on the move, passing from present to future and so becoming past. Kairos, on the other hand, is qualitative rather than quantitative. It is time as a moment, a significant occasion, an immeasurable quality. The New Testament writers use the word kairos to communicate God’s time, it is real time—it is the eternal now.

So it might be said for the Christian that when Jesus stepped into time to proclaim the kingdom of God among us, he came to show us in chronos the reality of kairos. “Jesus took John and James and Peter up the mountain in ordinary, daily chronos,” writes L’Engle. “Yet during the glory of the Transfiguration they were dwelling in kairos.”(1) With this story in mind, L’Engle describes kairos as that time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, time where we are completely unselfconscious and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are continually checking our watches.

Whatever your view of religion, it is likely an experience you can recount; a moment so sweet or magnified it seems to stop time. But L’Engle presses the Christian to see it as something to be expected. “Are we willing and able to be surprised?” L’Engle asks. “If we are to be aware of life while we are living it, we must have the courage to relinquish our hard-earned control of ourselves.”(2) If we have the courage to see it, the kingdom of God is close at hand,kairos breaking through like Christ into the world.

I imagine Jacob, too, discovered the difference between chronos and kairos when he set aside the past which was about to catch up with him, along with his paralyzing fear of the future, and found himself living in “none other than the house of God.” The prophets and poets describe similar moments of waking to the present and finding the eternal dimensions of time. The shepherds in Bethlehem were going about their ordinary work when the glory of the Lord captured the moment. “Do not be afraid,” the angel announced. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:13-14). At this invasion of kairos into the routine of chronos, the shepherds chose to respond with action: “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (2:15).

Uncanny encounters with time are a part of the human experience. The Christian is given a language to explain these encounters. We live somewhere between the already and the not yet, caught by the eternal now and the one who dwells within it. The implications are both temporal and unending. Will we have the courage to look for glory in the ordinary? To release control of our calendars and watches and note the eternal in our midst? The apostle joins every prophet and poet who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah in history and the return of the king to come, “Behold, now is the time (kairos) of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Like Christ, glimpses of the eternal come quietly and unexpectedly; they come and upset our very notion of time and all we discover within it. Why should we be so unreconciled to time if the temporal were our only concern? Or could it be that the eternal Word stepped into flesh, into our bounded realm of time, and literally embodied the reality that time is meaningful because of the eternal one in our midst.

The Christian insists that kairos is breaking into chronos and transforming it. With Christ it proclaims, “The kingdom of God is close at hand”—and the temporal world invited to break in along with it. In ordinary moments that hint at such a radical invasion, might we have the courage to be surprised by one who comes so near.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (New York: Bantam, 1982), 93.
(2) Ibid., 99.