20 December 2011

The Light of Men

The things of God are best experienced firsthand. Wouldn’t you rather meet someone’s new spouse or baby? Likewise, there is no substitute for a firsthand encounter with Christ, who guarantees to meet us, whenever and wherever. What's that like? Hard to describe, for Christ is the light of men, whether in the equatorial suns and in the northern winter solstice–John 1 reflects this thought as it begins:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
This shortened this poem by writer-rancher Maxwell Struthers Burt speaks to this:
Via Crucis
Out of the dark we come, nor know
Into what outer dark we go.
Wings sweep across the stars at night,
Sweep and are lost in flight,
And down the star-strewn windy lanes the sky
Is empty as before the wings went by.
We dare not lift our eyes, lest we should see
The utter quiet of eternity;
So, in the end, we come to this:
Christ-Mary’s kiss.

We cannot brook the wide sun’s might,
We are alone and chilled by night;
We stand, atremble and afraid,
Upon the small worlds we have made;
Fearful, lest all our poor control
Should turn and tear us to the soul;
A dread, lest we should be denied
The price we hold our raged pride;
So in the end we cast them by
For a gaunt cross against the sky.
...
The touch of shoulders, scent of new-turned soil,
Striving itself amid the thrusting throng,
And love that comes with white hands strong;
But on itself the long path turns again,
To find at length the hill of pain.
Such only do we know and see;
Starlight and evening mystery,
...
Young dawn and quiet night
And the earth’s might.
But all our wisdom and our wisdom’s plan
End in the lonely figure of a Man.
  • Maxwell Struthers Burt, In the High Hills, 1914