1 Corinthians 2:9
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”
Ever since Jama and I moved to New Hampshire in January, 2009 we've been treated to the wonders of God's world around us in a way that simply isn't possible in most of Megalopolis ( Lewis Mumford in his 1938 book, The Culture of Cities, for anyone who cares about where the name comes from). Living, as I did all my life, in the corridor from Washington, DC to Boston, nature always takes a back seat to the next building project.
We had been transitionally living in a cottage on Pawtuckaway Lake while searching for a new home when we saw a very large barn owl perched in a tree right on the side of the road. I've been treated to views of fox, quail, dozens of deer, and I swear Big Foot lives in the woods off my back yard. Therein hangs a tail:
We have sat many evenings around the campfire in our side yard listening to the wondrous sound of the loons on Bow Lake calling back and forth to one another. One evening the "city folk" who were visiting us seemed distracted from conversation by a noise in the woods behind them. It was an ominous, heavy footfall. I'll admit... even I wondered if it might be a bear. Jama has worried that cuyotes might carry our dachshund off for dinner. But this was no cuyote. The sound was too large. I told them we had seen deer back there, and that seemed to relieve their fears for a bit.
All over New Hampshire you will pass signs that announce "moose crossing, next 4 miles". But neither Jama nor I had ever seen a live moose... even in a zoo. This morning, as I was reading the Lectionary at the kitchen table, I looked up, and there, squarely in the center of the front door window was a 6 or 8' tall male moose. He had sauntered into our front yard and seemed to be perfectly satisfied that there was no conflict between his world and suburbia. I ran upstairs and roused Jama from bed, for she had been telling me for months that she didn't believe moose were real. Kneeling at the back bedroom window we only saw him for maybe five or ten seconds as he walked back into the woods and disappeared from view. But it gave us the greatest joy you can imagine just to finally have proof -- together -- that there are moose in our woods.
What "no eye had seen, no ear heard, and our hearts only imagined" had seemed quite unreal to us. We always talked about moose. We could picture moose in our mind's eye. We could even convince ourselves that there must be such a thing because we had seen so many other things like a moose; although a deer is not quite like a moose. Deer are sweeter, somehow. They are less majestic, less threatening, less noble. They are impotent by comparison with the size and weight of a moose. And deer are so common around here, that they no longer inspire any sense of awe.
I won't cheapen the metaphor by explaining it. I will just say that there are an awful lot of "deer" (idols) in this world that have lulled most of us into a sort of complacent unbelief, as if to say that there is nothing important about spiritual things. But the thrill and terror of even the possibility of coming face to face with the one true God is almost more joy than my heart can comprehend.
"Oui messieur, I am Gagnon, world champeen moose call-ieur."
Pastoral Relief and Retreat
- Wethersfield, CT, United States
- I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.