I’m still waiting for you to send me material for this page. So I continue to write all the comments and reflections myself.
I know that many of you, despite the advanced average age of our Congregation, are web-literate. Send me your photos, and your comments. We have a world-wide reach.
Gary the webmaster
A tree grew in our back yard, alongside the deck. It grew large, as trees do, and began to block the view from our kitchen window, rustle against the spouting. So we phoned a gang of tree-men, who came with chainsaws and truck with a foliage-gobbling chipper.
A prehensile youth ascended the tree and chainsawed it down in pieces, from the top. I was impressed.
At right, the stump that remains. After two weeks, it sprouts again, because life does not want to depart. Next year it will rise once more above the deck, where I will trim it to keep our light beaming into the kitchen windows.
We sprout again through our children. We don’t require trimming as we grow. Eventually, our life departs. What then?
Hamlet pondered this in his famous soliloquy, which grows more meaningful to me as the years pass.
“To die; to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to dream,
ay, there’s the rub;
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come;
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil
must give us pause...”
Kahil Gibran wrote:
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
Thus, Gibran gives us assurance that our essence goes on, like the trees, in our offspring. But what awaits us when we depart?
Christianity proposes one answer. We are assured that nothing can separate us from the Love of God, and that when we die, in some way we go to be with him. Many have pondered what this might mean.
Albert Einstein, in his youth was first a fervent Jew, then an atheist, finally (analysis of his later beliefs are unclear) probably an agnostic, though amazed and astonished at the way the Universe fits together, which to his mind suggested some great force or mind behind it. That is as close as he came to the concept of a “creator”. And he implied that we live on perpetually because our atoms go back into the great pool in the universe to be born again in a star, perhaps then a proto-planet, perhaps some other life-form. Bodies perish, but Atoms are eternal. At least we can be assured of that. Not quite the Christian hope, but at least our material is promised eternity.
So we must all go on in hope. With no morbid fear, nor dread, nor wondering like Hamlet, “what dreams may come”. The words of Jesus are more definite and comforting than the thoughts of Gibran, or the doubts of Einstein. All we can do is to trust in these words, reinforced over 2 millenia by the writings and experiences of a multitude of the Faithful, and go forth daily to live out our lives.
And to be amazedly thankful that we have been born in Peaceful New Zealand, far from the maelstroms of the Northern hemisphere. How lucky we are!
My theological beliefs, as you see, are heavily influenced by my life as a Physicist, spent attempting to find out how the Universe runs.
What do you think? How do you see what follows from our lives here? Write and tell us....