Winning Words 5/2/11
“I fled him down labyrinthine ways…” (Francis Thompson) I thought of this line from the poem, The Hound of Heaven, when I heard of the capture of Osama bin Laden. How must it feel to know the inevitability? The chase is over. FT’s poem is about how God chases after us and does not give up…but it’s for a positive reason. He wants to share his heaven with us. The poem is worth reading. ;-) Jack
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."
....and so forth. You can Google the rest.
FROM GOOD DEBT JON: I know there will be those that gloat about Osama bin Laden's death but I doubt it will have the impact many are expecting. Bush/Obama spent an estimated 5 Trillion $ to get him. At what point does protecting honor no longer make sense to pursue? Afghanistan literally broke the USSR and the Middle East is leveling a terrible price on the taxpayer of the US. The Constitution talks about the defense of the US not military offense abroad. Toby Keith will sell some more songs, but I don't think this will change much in the Middle East. I am thankful my son is back from Iraq, this will make it hotter for our soldiers still in Iraq and Afghanistan. FROM JACK: I rejoice that your son has returned from "the war" safely. I can only imagine what it must be like to send a child into danger. A young man who I know is now about to be sent to Afghanistan. I'm concerned for him, but I pray and believe that "the Hound of Heaven" will follow him. The world is never a completely safe haven, but our faith tells us that there is a "heaven."
FROM JS IN MICHIGAN: How much better to be caught by the Hound of Heaven than the US Special Forces!!!
FROM JACK: Yes, that's the point I was trying to make.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: Reminds me of the parable of The Lost Sheep...99 in the fold, but the Shepherd couldn't rest until the one lost sheep was rescued and in the fold...I'm just starting to read LOVE WINS, a Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of every person Who Ever Lived by Paul Kent. He is persuaded that Jesus taught a very different version of Heaven and Hell from the Christian teaching today. I like his idea of no everlasting torment! FROM JACK: Even though Jonathan Edwards once preached a sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which caused people "to weep and gnash their teeth," I don't thing that God wants to scare people into heaven. MORE FROM OAKS: I read that sermon to my S.S. class last year...quite a diatribe!! I really can't reconcile a loving God casting sinners into everlasting torment...I think there is some
insight we don't know. Certainly the old testament is vague on any details about what happens after death> I think if we had the capacity to understand the next transition of life, Jesus would have been more specific detailing life in heaven. Ah well, "then we shall know, even as we are known"... FROM JACK: There are different sermons for different congregations in different situations. As the song goes in The Music Man... "You've got to know the territory." STILL MORE FROM OAKS: I thought of a saying I memorized, when I heard of Bin Laden's death..."JUSTICE=WHEN YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE. MERCY=WHEN YOU DON'['T GET WHAT YOU DESERVE, GRACE=WHEN YOU GET WHAT YOU DON'T DESERVE. I think most of us had mixed feelings about this situation, and all its possible repercussions. FROM JACK: Are Justice, Mercy, Grace available for everyone?
FROM PRDC IN NEBRASKA: I can understand the feeling with the death of benLaden, but I am uneasy to think of it as justice. It is revenge, one man's life for thousands. In fact, I think of a lynch mob, which believes it makes justice by their own hands, not as a result of justice from a court decision. Granted, the court of public opinion has no doubt about this one's perverse advocacy, but does a lynching counter an idea and ideology? I appreciate the rejoicing, but is it "justice"? FROM JACK: I see that your comment is in reference to what you have seen and heard about Osama's death. My WWs tried to make a connection between the relentless military search for this one man, and God's relentless "hound search" for each individual, including you and me...and bin Laden.
FROM MOLINE CF: Don't take offense, but if you reference something you want us to read, include the link to get to it. "Make it easy and you'll sell more." FROM JACK: Thanks for the suggestion. Personally, I've found it easy to simply go to Google and type in what I want to know; but I'm just a novice.
FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Curious - what's the name of the poem? I'd like to read the full text. FROM JACK: The poem is simply called, "The Hound of Heaven." It's a classic, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. FOLLOW UP FROM BBC: Quite the pithy work…I think the internet read did not do it justice. Will have to print and read in the quiet of my home rather than during the work day. How are you feeling today? The news of last night fell oddly on my heart and I'm not sure why. A facebook (old H.S. ) friend posted, "now that he's down, can we have our civil liberties back"? That was a snarky take but pointed. I feel that bin Laden's death does nothing to bring the victims back or restore wholeness to their families and friends so his demise, ten years after is a sort of empty victory. And, since illegal drugs, and weapons seem to flow freely in and out of this country despite "heightened, vigilant security" I have little faith that those government overseers are doing much significant to "protect" us….just window dressing on an isidious and malignant problem. How's that for a sunny day? FROM JACK: Vengeance never seems to fully satisfy.
FROM AM IN MICHIGAN: Oh, I remember that poem well. Read it for the first time in grade school ,often later but not for awhile. I shall do that today. FROM JACK: I suppose that it was in parochial school. The message is a good one.
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We all know inevitability of death...but we have the promise of eternal life...bin Laden didn't. His death brings mixed emotions...it's hard to describe. He was a deadly leader and faced his inevitable ending. Hopefully, it will bring about a change and hopefully, our soldiers won't pay the price. War is hell....and perhaps this will be the beginning of the end. The poem was excellent and well worth the read! Thank you! FROM JACK: The poem is about us. If Osama had read it, it would have been about him.
FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Dumb me--I think I watched TV till after 1:30 last night! Talk about wonderful news!!! FROM JACK: That's 2:30 am, my time. I tuned out after the president's speech.
FROM CJL IN OHIO: You are really well read. Keep it up so the rest of us will benefit. FROM JACK: "The Hound" is a classic. It's the kind of poem that you would like.
FROM AS IN MASSACHUSETTS: I've been thinking of emailing and thanking you for your "Winning Words" each day, but your reference to Francis Thompson's poem has prompted me to do so. It was one of my husband's favorite poems. He was fond of quoting the first line. I still miss him, especially when I'm trying to start the lawnmower, but life goes on. FROM JACK: There are poems like this that help us make sense out of what goes on around us.
FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: All I know is that our daughter does a lot of travelling for her work, in fact she travelled to San Francisco this evening and goes back and forth to Europe, etc., and now I'm going to worry more. I wonder if there would have been some way that we in the United States could be more subdued and quiet and sort of sober about Osama's being killed and then buried at sea by his enemies. Couldn't they just have used a stun gun or something and then had a trial of international jury or something? I think all this is just going to fan the flames. Didn't you have a WW a little while back that talked about how a little action led to a big result? FROM JACK: Monday Morning Quarterbacking is something that most people like to do. In this instance, I was not in Pakistan when the decision was made, so I'll just have to trust the people who were there in my place. There's a reason why "trust" is in the dictionary.