- By Elder Thatcher

A Thematic Blog - -By Elder Thatcher
"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holy Ground- Misunderstood Miracles.

The time has come for me to share one of my all-time favorite quotes. 

This comes from an extended poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning entitled "Aurora Leigh."  Browning is known as one of the most successful female poets in history and a biographer lauded her as "the most philisophical poet" and called her life "a Gospel of applied Christianity." 
Let me show you why these accolades are well-due. 

"And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing's small!

No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:
And,–glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,–
In such a little tremour of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude."

Let me explicate what this means by quoting others' words.

"I am impressed as Moses brought Israel into the Sinai, which is a desolate piece of land.  They ran out of water and began to complain, "Were that we were in Egypt where we had all the water we could drink."  And God showed unto Moses water and Moses led the children of Israel to the water.  And there before them was all the water they could drink.  And when they drank of the water it was bitter.  They couldn't drink it.  It sat there and mocked them. It sat there and mocked their thirst.  and they cried out, "O Moses why did you lead us here?  And Moses cut down the tree and placed it into the water, as God instructed, and the water was made sweet.
"I am intrigued it was a tree.  Now if you had ever been to Sinai, you would be intrigued it was a tree as well.  In fact, I often tell my students the miracle was not that Moses saw a burning bush but that there was a bush there at all.  This is a really dry, parched area of land.  A tree.  How did a tree get there?  When did the tree get there?  It is possible, that if you and I had seen God's miracle we would have never even recognized it.  Years and years before it was needed a seed blew accross dry land.  Years and years before it was needed it fell into a crevice where there was moisture where it could take root.  If you and I would have seen that we would have said, "This is not God, this is not a miracle, it is just nature."  And as the tree became a sapling and sprouted its beautiful elaves we would have said, "This is not God, this is not a miracle, it is just nature." And as it grew to become a tree we would have said, "This is not God, this is not a miracle, it is just nature."  But isn't it interesting that when Moses arrived the right tree was there that it made bitterness become sweet.  Brothers and Sisters, do not discount God.  It may appeart that nature is taking its course.  It may appear that history is simply moving along its way.  But I assure you that God has already planted and when you and I need them those trees will be ready, and it will make the bitterness become sweet unto us." 
-Dr. Richard D. Draper                

1 comment:

  1. No mistaking this one, you know? I have always loved the part of the poem you always hear--from the crammed to the blackberries--but I've never seen it in context. Beautiful! I've got to read the rest of the poem now!