A God-Shaped Hole

“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” – Augustine

There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us
And the restless soul is searching
There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us
And it’s a void only He can fill

Does the world seem gray with empty longing
Wearing every shade of cynical
And do you ever feel that
There is something missing?

Never before in our history have we had so many ways to fill our time and our desires. And yet, people seem to find contentment so elusive, amidst the abundance of choices in our hyperconsumer and hyperconnected society.

… our addiction to being constantly connected has created an entirely new and unique fear: the fear of missing out, or FOMO. While we may think we are missing out on something important, we are actually missing out on being present in our own lives.

–Steven Griffith, The Time Cleanse: A Proven System to Eliminate Wasted Time, Realize Your Full Potential, and Reinvest in What Matters Most (McGraw-Hill, 2018)
 

Augustine sought to fill that void through a life of debauchery but that ultimately didn’t satisfy or satiate his desires; instead, like a thirsty man gulping salt water, he could not assuage his yearnings. He then tried to follow the path of vanity and vainglory through the pursuit of rhetoric, thinking perhaps this would satisfy his ambition and bring him acclaim and adoration.

It was only when he recognized the depravity and darkness of his own heart that the glorious light of God’s grace found its way into his soul; as he puts it: “You had pierced our heart with Your love.” So it was in my own experience: the angst and anxiety drove me to seek out answers: Zen, Nietzsche, rock ‘n’ roll —but it was reading the account of Jesus’ crucifixion (and subsequent resurrection from the dead) that the turmoil in my soul was calmed by the truth of what I read and experienced when in faith I first believed: “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32; ESV).

Luminous / Numinous

When I was a child, I was fascinated by lightning storms: the forks of light illuminating the night sky, accompanied by the “voice of God”, filled me with awe and fear.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and stand by the window, watching the luminous sky in utter fascination.

Today, we seemed to have largely lost the sense of wonder in our disenchanted universe, due to the “abandonment of a premodern sacramental mindset in which the realities of this-worldly existence pointed to greater, eternal realities in which they sacramentally shared. Once modernity abandoned a participatory or sacramental view of reality, the created order became unmoored from its origin in God, and the material cosmos began its precarious drift on the flux of nihilistic waves.” (Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry, Eerdmans, 2011)

Awe has given way to AWE: Angst, Ennui, and Weltschmerz. The numinous has been eclipsed by the “normal.”

Image is from http://www.jordanlassonde.com/numinous/

How Rare and Beautiful It Is

One of the challenges of being a dad to a teenage daughter is learning to deal with the mood swings and emotional outbursts that seem to erupt on a daily basis. The other challenge is having to put up with her taste in music: she loves the stuff that most teens enjoy, which of course I dislike! However, one day, she shared a song with me that pulled me in immediately. I confess I listened to it several times a day for the first two weeks!

In my opinion, everything about the song is beautiful: the video, the lyrics, and the music. So far, I’ve just been content to enjoy the song without attempting to analyze it in any great depth. But these words from the song:

I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

… came to mind this morning when I came across an article, “Anthropic arrogance” by David Barash.  As I began reading this article, I immediately recalled a conversation I had with a colleague at work who remarked how insignificant we are in the vastness of the cosmos.

Continue reading “How Rare and Beautiful It Is”

Home

Photo courtesy of Michael Means. Used with permission.

This photo evokes many emotions and words for me, as I’m sure it does for you. Ruin. Abandonment. Desolation. Emptiness. Loneliness. Sadness.

And yet I also see: Beauty. Hope. Restoration. Love. Joy. Home.

We will return to this photo throughout our journey, as the Story unfolds …

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
– Desmond Tutu