Eternity in the Human Heart

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

– Ecclesiastes 3:11

boston common in the sunshine

I have long pondered passages such as Ecclesiastes 3:11, Psalm 19, and Romans 1-18-20.  In the past, I’ve followed them into debate, but lets circumvent all that today.  Look instead at the surging inside that says, “YES! I know EXACTLY what this means!”

It’s that same swell you’ve felt atop a mountain, sweat gathered on the way up, all at once chilling your skin in the altitude, as you see and breathe beauty so rich and tangible it can only be describe as “drinking it in!”  You sense the same sacredness when the world slows and comes to a halt, because a child you are cradling, has fallen asleep in your arms.   You intuit the presence of something greater than biological reality alone, when one human being gives up his or her life, for another, perhaps even a stranger.

Bathe in that beauty for moment.

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves—that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet.

For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

–C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 42-3.

flowers in boston common

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