Awakening a Keen Observer

Monday, August 02, 2010

Is it a mystery?

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Eagle

HE clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

My third college English class was great. The first two were interesting but the third was one I so completely enjoyed. (In the first one if you had an incomplete or run-on sentence in the final you flunked the course. We had to write about the book Under the Volcano. I remember writing some of the shortest most structured sentences throughout the in class essay).

OK back to the Eagle
It was the third day or so in the class and he read this poem three times. He asked for us to pause and then to say what we thought this was all about. There were many 'theories' about the metaphorical and symbolic meanings hidden in the poem. This poem was becoming quite complicated and I thought I must be over my head in the class. He looked at me and said OK, you are the only one who hasn't answered. I said, "I think it is about a bird." So OK, I was an ornithology major but still the beauty of the poem to me was the amazing image, true to form, of the eagle- painted with so few words.

The professor asked me my name. Said you get an A for today. Not everyone was pleased with his response.

Later, some time later, in some of the theology classes I had there were times that reminded me so much of this poem and this class. There were layers upon layers of meaning, context, historical setting, etc in some of the debates we had. One guy knew how to really throw around the big words that honestly LOST me.

Then I visited India, later, some time later, and looked and saw the Gospel completely alive. A worker goes to the field--see over there! A woman had two coins--look she put in everything she had to the offering after walking for 2 hours to church. The poverty was evident but there was a woman sweeping the rectangle in front of her cardboard house and a tiny potted plant outside. The folks in the Leper colony washing the hard packed dirt and smiling.

Let us not forget when we read the texts that although the 'theological thinkers' can help us wrestle with some of the tougher ones, that many many many of the Gospel stories are to be seen and not imagined. Fear not little flock for God has plans for you...

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

facebook: bobbiemcgarey


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