To see what's there to be seen

"And for all this, nature is never spent;/ There lives the dearest freshness deep down things," "God's Grandeur," Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (London: The Folio Society, 1974), p. 62 . wrote poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. How we respond to that freshness! A sudden offshore breeze in summer, late light breaking through in the west after a day of clouds and rain, even the coming of each day's morning, seem related to deep spiritual intuitions about eternal newness.

But do we trust enough that this quality of freshness is always there, never lost, never exhausted? Do we really expect to keep finding it in our spiritual study, in daily life, in church? We should and we can, because freshness is the unchanging character of spiritual experience.

The advent of Christianity brought great freshness with it. Contrary to Ecclesiastes' weary comment, here was something brand-new under the sun. You can almost tangibly feel the sense of anticipation and possibility, in reading the New Testament. Christ Jesus' followers knew they were depending on new resources, unknown to a jaded world. Paul expressed it when he wrote, "If a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new" II Cor. 5:17. The King James Version translates the passage as follows: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (J. B. Phillips translation).

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Hearing and responding to the healing Christ
March 19, 1984

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