The Gathered Glories

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The Gathered Glories: from "All Saints" by Malcolm Guite

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards

Each shard still shines with Christ's reflected light,

It glances from the eyes, kindles the words

Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright

With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed.

Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing,

He weaves their threads into the web of being.

They stand beside us even as we grieve,

The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,

Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above

The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,

To triumph where all saints are known and named;

The gathered glories of his wounded love.

Vintage Sessions: for small groups & individuals

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Are you ready to dig deeper?  I've created some curated readings just for you and your friends -- the very words of the Vintage Saints and Sinners you've come to know in my book along with a leader's guide for each session.  From Augustine to O'Connor, you'll find some of my favorites...and I'm adding new sessions all the time. Want to know more?  Special requests for more readings?  Just email me at karen@theologicalhorizons.org

The latest podcasts, interviews & excerpts

The Dilemma of Desire: Juana Ines de la Cruz

 Founded by Andi Ashworth and Charlie Peacock, Art House America promotes the vision of a seamless life of Christian discipleship and imaginative living.

Founded by Andi Ashworth and Charlie Peacock, Art House America promotes the vision of a seamless life of Christian discipleship and imaginative living.

That Disney princess was right after all: dreams really do come true!  I've got a post up on the Art House America blog--the epicenter of all things thoughtful, innovative and cool.  Read the piece on the curious Juana Ines de la Cruz right here.

Benedict's Vision: An Eclipse

The Vision of Saint Benedict

This painting by Cosmas Damian Asam Bavarian, 1686–1739, represents the artist's desire to capture Saint Benedict's ecstatic, mystical vision in naturalistic terms, via light that is a metaphor for the divine presence. The canvas shows an elderly saint who, confronted by a solar eclipse, seems to experience a seizure—as well as enlightenment—at the moment when light erupts from the celestial sphere, as described in Benedict’s vision.

The artist accurately depicted the solar corona surrounding the moon, which is obscured by the sun as well as by the light that bursts forth from the edge of the dark lunar disk in the moment after totality. This phenomenon—when the first ray of light breaks through a valley on the edge of the moon’s silhouette—is known as the “diamond-ring effect”. This suggests that Asam witnessed the eclipse of May 13, 1733, and perhaps combined his own observations of it with descriptions from contemporary scientists.

Lean On Me: Amanda Berry Smith for today

Rev. Jeff Myers, senior pastor of Roswell Presbyterian Church, preaches out of the powerful witness of Amanda Berry Smith in his August 6 sermon, "Psalms of the Summer: Lean On Me".  The Scripture begins at minute 14:00; Jeff's sermon (at 19:00) opens with a story from Vintage Saints and Sinners and returns to Amanda Berry Smith at minute 35:00. Jeff's reflections on Psalm 139 are just what you need to hear today.  Watch the video now!

the sinner-saint you've never heard of

 At three, Juana Ines de la Cruz, feisty Mexican girl with the sustaining passion for knowledge, persuaded an older sister to teach her to read and write. Juana devoured the books she found in her grandfather’s study: literature, science, philosophy, theology, languages. She developed some quirky habits. “I would abstain from eating cheese because I heard tell that it made people stupid,” Juana reports, “and the desire to learn was stronger for me than the desire to eat.” Whenever she was dissatisfied with her mastery of a certain subject, she’d cut off her hair to punish her own dull-wittedness. A head that was bare of facts should also be bare of pretty curls.  The era was seventeenth-century Mexico. The authorities were male, traditional Catholic, Spanish colonialists. And the young scholar? She was the daughter of unwed parents, a Spanish military officer and a Mexican-born mother, a girl from the town of Nepantla, Aztec for “land in the middle.” As an illegitimate child, her birth was not even recorded in the church registry. Her very existence was off the books—but not for long.  Juana Ines de la Cruz's passion and faith took her far. To this day she's known as the first female theologian in the Americas. A sinner-saint to love and admire.  

At three, Juana Ines de la Cruz, feisty Mexican girl with the sustaining passion for knowledge, persuaded an older sister to teach her to read and write. Juana devoured the books she found in her grandfather’s study: literature, science, philosophy, theology, languages. She developed some quirky habits. “I would abstain from eating cheese because I heard tell that it made people stupid,” Juana reports, “and the desire to learn was stronger for me than the desire to eat.” Whenever she was dissatisfied with her mastery of a certain subject, she’d cut off her hair to punish her own dull-wittedness. A head that was bare of facts should also be bare of pretty curls.

The era was seventeenth-century Mexico. The authorities were male, traditional Catholic, Spanish colonialists. And the young scholar? She was the daughter of unwed parents, a Spanish military officer and a Mexican-born mother, a girl from the town of Nepantla, Aztec for “land in the middle.” As an illegitimate child, her birth was not even recorded in the church registry. Her very existence was off the books—but not for long.  Juana Ines de la Cruz's passion and faith took her far. To this day she's known as the first female theologian in the Americas. A sinner-saint to love and admire.
 

the wisdom of Brother Lawrence

 GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that God does is for our good.    If we knew how much God loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from God.   Let all our employment be to know God: the more one knows God, the more one desires to know God. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of God were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.  Let us seek God often by faith: God is within us; seek God not elsewhere.  {Brother Lawrence}

GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that God does is for our good.  

If we knew how much God loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from God. 

Let all our employment be to know God: the more one knows God, the more one desires to know God. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of God were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.

Let us seek God often by faith: God is within us; seek God not elsewhere.  {Brother Lawrence}


Brother Lawrence, a lame war veteran, uneducated and clumsy, discovered his purpose at last: to simply live in the presence of the loving God.  The poet Denise Levertov writes that he "entered then the unending 'silent secret conversation,' the life of steadfast attention"  and found that the labors of everyday life became infused with "streams of sparkling color."  

Brother Lawrence invites us to love God. To know God. To be transformed.

 

To attain freefall

Japan, 1900/10 OHARA Shoson (koson) 1877 -

A pair of hawks have made a nest in the high oak tree outside our bedroom window.  From dawn till night, in sun or rain, the birds shriek and dive.  They wake me with their insistent screams, calling me, too: to hunt, to fly, to freefall, to float, to trust.