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Evening Song

Faintly the voices are flying to me;
Fragments and snatches fall here and fall there.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Pines of the forest are dark, yet I see
The light of a fire, all blazing and fair鈥
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Strange is the melody, wild, and free,
Chanting of happiness, love, and despair.
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Softly I steal through the dim-lighted lea,
Earnestly seeking that uncanny air.
Faintly the voices are flying to me.

Almost I catch it; again it breaks free.
What is this song, so familiar, so rare?
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Finally I break through, the brightness I see!
Then blackness, and silence, and nothing is there.
Faintly the voices are flying to me:
Shall I draw nearer, or will the song flee?

Codex Alexandrinus

Codex Alexandrinus

Of the many significant documents on display at the British Library, Codex Alexandrinus does not catch the eye. There are no illuminations, no gold leaf or fancy calligraphy. All that it presents to the viewer is line upon line of uncial Greek text. Nevertheless, to me this document stood out from all the others, both because it was written in Greek, and because of its great significance in New Testament textual criticism. It is remarkable because it contains nearly all of the Septuagint and New Testament, unlike most other surviving Greek texts, and it is quite old, having been written in the fifth century.

The codex was open to the Book of Psalms, and as I read those ancient words of praise to God, I thought about how they were written in a time when Greek was still commonly spoken, and in a time when, perhaps, the scene of 鈥淐hristianity鈥 was a little less confusing than it is now. I was also struck by the precision of the lines and letters, and it was very evident that the scribe whose hand copied those sacred lines truly had concern for accuracy in regard to the Word of God鈥攕omething that many people today care little about.

“Church of Our Lady”

Church of Our Lady

Cathedrals are majestic places, no doubt. The high ceilings, the many intricate statues, and the extravagant trimmings would strike awe into any heart. But despite these attributes, one thing about cathedrals continues to enchant me, and that is the tombs.

A place for the dead is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a cathedral, but in every one we have visited so far, the “Church of Our Lady” not excepted, I have found inscriptions that tell of the ones whose bones are housed within the walls and floors of these splendid buildings. Words such as Hic jacet and Hic sepultus est stare at me from the worn stone which was carved so many centuries ago.

How splendid these people’s funerals must have been, and how lamented their loss! And yet, today hundreds of people walk heedlessly over and past these tombs and their cryptic Latin epitaphs, whilst gazing upon the greater glory of the architecture around them.

Though I can read only a little of what these tombs tell, I at least try to honor the dead with a thought, which perhaps is more than many who see them.

(Church of Our Lady, Bruges, Belgium)

A Night in the Forest

The Day Breaks

Apparently all the recent rainfall has saturated the ground, leaving the forest floor still damp.聽 Even the trusty pine needles won鈥檛 catch, and I am left to fend without fire.聽 Not that fire is necessary.聽 The evening is fine, and my meagre meal does not require heating.

The light fades, and the sun falls below the horizon, although I myself cannot see it for all the trees.聽 With no electric light and no burning light, I have no reason to sit in darkness, so I might as well prepare for slumber.

Settled in my sleeping bag, I gaze up at the small patch of sky beyond the highest branches.聽 The ever-present stars have not yet made their appearance, and the birds have ceased their merry music, content to let the insects begin their songs.聽 You see, the forest is never without music.聽 And what music!聽 It is almost a racket to our refined ears, but it contains meaning for the insects.聽 None seems to have any consideration for any other; each one chirps and buzzes with all its arthropodal heart, never imagining that it should hush and let the song of another be heard. Read More