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Current Language Mission – Nahuatl

Fall at the Bruce FarmGreetings, faithful readers! I have returned to my native continent, and I decided just now to take the time to write up a real live blog post. You see, those photos and short posts from Europe did not freely flow from the fount of creativity, but were the result of assigned writing for one of my classes. This did not detract from their quality entirely; some were quite good in my own estimation, but others were a little forced, and would have gone unwritten were they not assigned. For these latter I apologize, but I hope to improve my habits so that I can have time to write down the things that I am truly inspired by.

At this moment I am currently sitting on a bench next to the driveway at our north-central Texas home. When I left Belgium it was cold and damp, but the fall leaves were lovely. When I arrived home, Autumn was still in the process of putting on her garb, and I am glad to report that she is now fully arrayed in her customary splendour. The leaves are turning all sorts of colours, the prickly pears are laden with bright red tunas, and the evening sunsets top it all off in a great show that mankind can never replicate. Meanwhile, I am preparing for my next travel destination: eastern San Luis Potosí, Mexico–which will prove quite a change from northern Europe. Read More

Hymn of the Week – David’s Song of Thanks

[O]n that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him; sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
Read More

The Vanity of Versailles

Gates of Versailles

It was the gold that shone most brightly in the morning light, and as we stood outside the palace gates of Versailles, it was easy to understand how the exterior of this grand edifice was built to impress. On either side of the royal gates was a tall, Classical-style building, and where the frieze would normally be found, the inscription A Toutes les Gloires de la France was carved in large letters, for all to see—“To All the Glories of France.”

Gazing on all this glory, meant to reflect the power of the king of France and the splendour of his kingdom, the first words of Ecclesiastes came to mind: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Even though these things once impressed peasants and nobility alike in favour of the king, today they are simply a relic of the grandeur that once was, an empty palace open for anyone who will buy a ticket to see it. Even though it is still a very grand place, the vanity of it all is perhaps more evident in modern light.

Le Calvaire

Le Calvaire

Europe certainly has its share of crucifixes. From the restaurant across from the Place Verte in Verviers, to the many representations of Christ to be found in the grand cathedrals, it seems they’re everywhere. And they all look strangely similar: The white plaque above His head with the Latin initials “I.N.R.I.,” the bearded, near-naked figure with a neutral facial expression—seemingly dead already. And I daresay that after seeing this picture so many times, the scene has long since ceased to move me.

But this time was different. I was in the section of the Orsay Museum dedicated to the work of the Naturalists, a school of painters who sought to paint their subjects as accurately as possible. And as I passed my eyes over these incredibly detailed paintings, one of them halfway up the wall grabbed my attention.

There He was again: my Saviour dying on a Roman cross. But He wasn’t as I had seen Him before, emotionless and still. This time he was screaming in pain, and the horror of His fate was so evident in His face that I could almost hear those words escaping from His lips: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

(“Le Calvaire” by Nikolaï Gay, Musée d’Orsay, Paris)