The last week or two has been fairly swirly for me, feeling at once new and old. It has not been stressful, like Latte’s, but rather quietly active. I had a conference to attend in Tasmania, and the countryside there is beautiful, as you would expect, but not stunning in the same way that New Zealand is. There was a sort of European softness to it that you don’t see in much of Australia, and as I said to Latte, the sky seemed so high, so high up that if you flew straight up for hours it would never deepen to purple and black, but always just shine with its soft blueness, like a dome with an infinite radius.
About halfway through the conference there was an opportunity to go to a winery, so I took it. I didn’t know anyone else on the bus there, though, so when we arrived I was mostly tasting and nibbling on my own. It being kind of awkward to amble nonchalantly between people tasting their wine, I decided to get a full glass and go sit out on the veranda, looking at the little lake and the hill where they grew the grapes. The sky was high and the fields were soft and the eucalypts looked awkwardly alone, even when in clumps. And the wine was good too.
There was a breeze blowing, and it wasn’t an even one – it twisted and turned and, sitting there, I felt pulled hither and thither, pushed and prodded by the whims of the wind. It felt so real and visceral, I could have sworn the wind had a personality.
Isn’t the world so alive? Beyond even biological life – the winds blow and the seas heave and the lands tumble over and up and around. The clouds make big, happy patterns in the sky and the seas flow as if stirred with a stick; pimples in the Earth’s skin pop violently, spraying pus and blood over their surroundings – they even come in hives. Bruises form where it has been hit in the past, and it tugs this way and that, pulled by its playful tiny brother as it runs around, always looking at the Earth in admiration. Being responsible, Earth itself follows its parent (Foster or natural? They’re still looking at the records) and wisely teaches its little brother the pertinent lessons. And as it twists and turns through its dance of life, the little people crawl around like fleas on its skin. And they feel the little tugs of the vortices of air pulling around them.
Think of the sheer power and will it takes to create this world. The amazing will behind which a single word could set in motion the processes that define it on the largest scale, and with which another thought produces the smallest details. Think of the complexity of the life we see on every scale, from the little subatomic particles to the great, weblike structures of superclustures of galaxies, expanding throughout the known universe, and everything in between. How incomprehensible!
Is it an irony that believers have no trouble accepting that He could make the universe thus, but then doubt that He can save us from our own iniquity? It is in His power to unmake us in an instant, and we think our ways are better?
To tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly pondering these things when sipping the wine – I was having rather more nerdy thoughts about maybe one day modelling whole lakes, with trees on the edges, in computational models and how we could try to get them to approach reality. Also, the sky was really blue. But it’s worth thinking about things like this afterwards too, and it helps flesh out perspectives. So, in that light:
In the next week we’ll be celebrating the birth of the one He sent to die for us. Let’s not forget what this means.