How fast can 30 jump jets, parked almost wing tip to wing tip, suddenly take off with no collisions? One second? Impossible? But look at the video below and see what HE has created can do in about one second. The video is in slow motion!
“Having once surrendered blind belief, it is impossible to return to it, for the essence of such belief is to be unconscious of itself. As soon as this unconsciousness ceases it is shattered like a glass whose fragments can not be again reunited except by being cast again into the furnace and refashioned.”
Abu Hgamid min al-Ghazali 1058-1111CEPlease scroll down
There is a sacred path deep in the forests of Southern Africa. It leads to an ancient river. The path is sacred because if you are privileged to walk along it and pause a while you sense there is a reality way beyond what your limited senses can even remotely imagine. Suddenly you ask: Where else have I felt like this? The memories come flooding in: The ancient granite Matobo Hills in Zimbabwe; a deserted cove in Corfu; the Redwoods in California; the grove at the top of Alta Plaza in San Francisco. Connections. Connections. Connections. Connections to the great beyond. Please scroll down.
Below is a small song with words that I have written as a tribute to the Sacred Path. I have also played it for you.
The Path to the Sacred
The path to the sacred
Is calling me home
The path to the sacred
Where worlds become one
I answer the call
A door opens wide
My friends are there waiting
There's no more divide
John Bartels - December 2021
The sheet music is on page 2
Sheet Music for "The Sacred Path"
What have Jesus and a trapeze artist got in common? As it turns out – plenty!
The idea for writing this post came to me while reading a story about the late Henri Nouwen (1932-1996). Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian.
In the last year of his life, Nouwen took a sabbatical during which he got to know trapeze artists at a circus. As we know, in the trapeze world, the “flyer” flies through the air and is caught by the “catcher”. Nouwen learnt that the catcher is the most important member of the team.
When the flyer lets go the trapeze and flies triple somersaulting through the air high above the circus ring, only the catcher can save the flyer from a potentially fatal fall, even with a net. The flyer’s world is a blur as she spins towards the swinging catcher. And then with a puff of magnesium dry powder the catcher’s hands lock onto the wrists of the flyer. The audience gasps with relief. All is well. The flyer is safe. Immediately the applause of the audience thunders around the circus tent.
So, why is Jesus a trapeze artist? What role does He play? Consider this:
One day all of us will pass away. This is one of life’s absolute certainties. What will happen to us then? Will we just cease to exist? Will we perish? Will we spin away into the eternal void of nothingness. Questions. Questions. Questions.
Jesus has an answer for each one of us. Listen to what He has to say:
“One day you will be the flyer. You will fly out of existence as you now know it. But, you need not fly into oblivion. You need not perish, If you believe and trust in me I promise to be your catcher. I will catch you as you fly. You will not perish but have everlasting life. I promise to catch you. Nothing can snatch you out of my hands. You will be safe and dwell with me forever. This I promise.“
To God be the glory.
Refs: John 3:16; John 14:2; John 10:28: Psalm 23.
For the story of how Nouen met the trapeze artists see “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg – page 36 on Kindle (Zondervan)
On 27 April we (all over 70) had a blow out coming down a mountain pass near Villiersdorp in the Western Cape of South Africa. We were able to stop immediately. We were really struggling to change the wheel. Eventually a car stopped. It was Arnold du Preez of “Snail and Slug Solutions”. Arnold immediately offered to help us and after much effort was able to change the wheel. It was also dangerous for Arnold and us all because fast passing traffic was constantly rushing past about a meter from us. Thankfully were able to continue our journey,due to Arnold’s act of kindness.
The incident taught me an important lesson: All it takes is one act of kindness to make someone’s world a better place.
Thanks for the lesson Arnold – may we follow your example and be kind when next we come across a person in need, whatever that need may be.
It keeps eternal whisperings around Desolate shores …. …. Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude, Or fed too much with cloying melody— Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood, Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!
Keats suggests that if we have had enough of this noisy world, we should go to a quiet place by the sea and sit “near some old Cavern’s mouth and brood”. Suddenly, out of the silence we may be startled to hear choirs of sea nymphs singing.
We are being called to go back to nature and to allow her to gently embrace us in her healing arms.
This sacred call of the sea is exquisitely captured in the beautiful photograph below. Be still. Can you hear the call?
A big thank you to Mariska Spoormaker for permission to use her beautiful photograph. Mariska took the picture on the Sacramento Trail near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.