Lord

Reading Bandersnatch – C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer, I’m struck by this quote by Tolkien’s son regarding his father’s writing process for The Lord of the Rings:

“It was far indeed from being a fixed text, and did not remain unchanged even in certain fundamental ideas concerning the world it portrays… As the years passed the changes and variants…became so complex, so pervasive, and so many-layered that a final and definitive version seemed unattainable.”

And then this, by Glyer: “Tolkien was constantly working on the world he had invented. Some of the most foundational aspects of plot and characters kept changing. Even the nature of Middle-earth remained in flux throughout his life.”

What strikes me about it is this: that an author whose genius achieved perhaps the most thorough creation of a fictitious world in literary history (complete with its own original and unique geography, history, populations, languages, alphabetic scripts etc.) – though indeed reflecting, by his act of sub-creation, the Creator of our own true world – was not able to come near the genius that must reside in the God who created an entire universe (ex nihilo!).

Our world, though replete with the seemingly endless variations available to free-willed characters, nevertheless has had an Author immutable in His one clear-minded, unchanging purpose and plot since before the beginning until after the end! Wow. Not even genius compares.

How can we respond except to say, “Glory to God alone”?

December is a field

This morning I turned the page of the calendar on my wall.

Then I took a walk to Field 12.

It’s a fallow paddock in the back corner of the farm. There I stood and gazed over the barren rectangle of soil, and it looked just like that calendar page: all blank and waiting to be filled.

And I wondered.

There are these boundaries that You give us. Fences and fields and months and days.

And nothing we can do will alter those borders.

Oh, but the crop!

We are farmers in Your image and we can choose which seeds to plant.

And as my Man of the Soil ponders which variety will yield, and what timing is right, even as he looks forward into an uncertain season…so I kneel here in the empty dirt and ponder the choices I have.

To sow fear or faith, hope or despair, courage and kindness or bitter recoil.

I look up at a dry sky and feel a parching wind on my skin.

And I decide.

I know what I want to harvest when the seasons have their turn.

Because I will return to this field and I will reap what I have sown and so I bend down with my knees in the dust and I feel the earth beneath my fingers as I dig.

And I plant my will.

I let it die and I bury it deep and I cover it with the dark earth.

I will wait.

I will trust it to the magic of the soil and rain and sun.

It will sprout here in the square plot of December.

Hope will soon push its green shoots up and into the glorious air.

Because a calendar is a field and my will is a seed and it must die to be reborn – and when that happens, it will yield a hundredfold.

Glory be to the Farmer who tills the soil of this horizoned month.

I will watch for the tender stems and leaves to shake the black earth from their tips. But while I walk here – and while I wait – I will trust the invisible work underground.

As I walked home I passed a field where the harvest is underway.

I give thanks for what has been.

As well as for what is to come.

.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust;

…Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;

…for you I wait all the day long.

(Psalm 25:1-5)