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Miracles

I recently finished C.S. Lewis’ Miracles – a philosophical work examining whether miracles (“an interference with Nature by a super-natural power”) are possible.  It was a bit dense to start, but it picked up speed and the whole experience was incredibly worth it.  I especially loved the chapters on the miracles of the incarnation, resurrection, and examining Jesus’ miracles (separated into works of the “Old Creation” – like multiplying loaves – and works of the “New Creation” – like raising Lazarus).  The final appendix discusses prayer, divine intervention, and time, and really helped me think about intercessory prayer (I’ve often struggled with understanding its purpose).

Here are a few neat quotes, violently ripped out of context, that I enjoyed: (the list is limited to the sections I read while I had the means to record quotes and is thus woefully incomplete)

In science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.

Theology offers you a working arrangement, which leaves the scientist free to continue his experiments and the Christian to continue his prayers.

… part of a long and beautiful argument in the chapter called “On Probability.”  If we accept science/nature as absolute, things fall apart on closer inspection (why should nature be logical? etc.)  Lewis, here, makes the point with Chesterton – if we’ll allow one thing that makes no sense (the Christian God), everything else falls into place.

 

Almost the whole of Christian theology could perhaps be deduced from the two facts (a) That men make coarse jokes, and (b) That they feel the dead to be uncanny.  The coarse joke proclaims that we have here an animal which finds its own animality either objectionable or funny.  Unless there had been a quarrel between the spirit and the organism I do not see how this could be: it is the very mark of the two not being ‘at home’ together.  But it is very difficult to imagine such a state of affairs as original–to suppose a creature which from the very first was half shocked and half tickled to death at the mere fact of being the creature it is… Our feeling about death is equally odd…In reality we hate the division which makes possible the conception of either corpse or ghost.

On death:

It [death] is mercy because by willing and humble surrender to it Man undoes his act of rebellion and makes even this depraved and monstrous mode of Death an instance of that higher and mystical Death which is eternally good and a necessary ingredient in the highest life… Our enemy, so welcomed, becomes our servant.

Death is, in fact, what some modern people call ‘ambivalent’.  It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.

Discussing the bodily resurrection and physical sacraments and a real heaven in the most beautiful passage on it ever (possibly excepting the passages in Narnia that borrow heavily from this one):

There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires.  But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body?  These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys.  We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world-shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatient, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables.  Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else – since He has retained His own charger – should we accompany Him?

 

What are your favorite parts?

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Air of Heaven

The phone buzzes across the room. I jump out of my dreamy state and answer it: 7:33am.
“Hi, Meaghan, this is Tangie at the Hippotherapy Center. We’re short on volunteers for the 9 o’ clock class this morning, would you be available to make it?”
“I will be there,” I reply, in what I hope sounds like a cheery, if not entirely awake, voice.

I reset my alarm to three hours before my normal summer wake-up time and lay back on the bed. Oh goodness, I sigh. Those kids and their horses sure have a way of getting me up.

I make the long trek out to the barn. Blue gallops across the arena and pokes his head through the fence to tell me good morning. The west Texas sun is shining bright and starting to hint at the warmth of the day.

We saddle the horses. As we wait for the children to arrive, I stare at the unexpected beauty of this collection of brown dirt, biting flies, green weeds, and a hot sun. My goodness, Lord, what a glorious day!
I feel a little like an outsider around all the horse gals. I walk over to Luke. He smells my outstretched hand. “Hey, boy.” I rub that soft, velvet nose. We talk about food, flies, and the sun. He continues to stare at me politely as I scratch the mud off his face.

Taylor arrives, with a grin as big as this west Texas horizon.
“You ready to get on Blue?” “Ya!”
And so we ride. We go over the bridge. We crest the hill. We weave through the grape arbor and wave to Woody. We learn how to sit, how to steer, how to trot, and what happiness is.

Micah bends over to kiss Lola on the neck. He grins and giggles. “Wings! Bird wings!” Micah is fascinated with wings today. “I want wings!” he croons. “Me too, buddy,” this often quiet sidewalker replies. They laugh.

Out here, there is nothing else. No thesis to worry over, no graduate programs to find, no deadlines, no sickness, no stalkers. Just big ponies and small children, happy to be on the back of a horse.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.
Arabian Proverb

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Horses

There’s nothing like big horses and small children to put a smile in my heart. And dust on my boots.

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