Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Phillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks is probably best known as the author of the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem".  He was a clergyman who served in Philadelphia and Boston, as rector of Trinity Church.  One fact that caught my attention when I first came across him (apart from the Christmas carol) was that he was much beloved of Harvard students as an honorary (more or less) chaplain to the university.  On his death, he was carried in a sturdy coffin three miles from Cambridge to Boston, in part by the Varsity Eight rowing squad.  This was impressive as Brooks was 6'3" and weighed 300 lbs!  His sermon to newly arrived freshman on their college life and living in general is inspiring.

Below is a meditation on John 10:10, in which Jesus says:   
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

"...the danger of men is not in too much life but in too little. It is deficient vitality, not excessive vitality, that makes the mischief and trouble of the world. Below the question of whether a being is living well or living ill there is the deeper question of whether he is living at all. The great hunger everywhere is for life. All unliving things are reaching up towards it. All living things are craving an increase of it. Into this world comes Christ and announces himself as that world's savior and satisfier..."

photo:  www.philadelphia-reflections.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Richard Wilbur, "Games Two"

The last few lines of this poem seem to capture the nature of Christian hope wonderfully.

Still, As pilgrims on a hill
Fallen, behold
With failing eyes from far
The desired city,
Silence will take pity
On words. There are
Pauses where words must wait,
Spaces in speech
Which stop and calm it, and each
Is like a gate:
Past which creation lies
In morning sun,
Where word with world is one
And nothing dies.

-Former Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur (born 1921), “Games Two”