Thursday, January 5, 2012

In My Beginning Is My End


















"In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto."

"Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning."

"East Coker"
Four Quartets
--T.S. Eliot

Four Quartets
Choruses from The Rock
John Milton:  Writer and Revolutionary

14 comments:

  1. This morning I opened the door of my room and looked out at the sunrise. The top edge of the sun had just come up over the eastern horizon--a desert mountain ridge in Nevada. The first words that came into my mind were "Dawn points, and another day prepares for heat and silence." (T.S. Eliot)

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  2. Tim, as John the Baptist, I'm certain you've been called as a voice in the wilderness. And to be a voice in the wilderness one has to experience, intimately the wilderness. In Isaiah 40, The voice in the wilderness also said all flesh is grass. Your choice and thoughts here clearly points to Ecclesiastes. For some reason I'm especially stirred by "prepares for heat and silence." God bless.

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  3. Randy: T.S. Eliot is probably my favorite poet and I have always loved reading "Four Quartets".

    This is the first post of 2012, so I thought "In my beginning . . ." was appropriate. Later on in "Four Quartets", Eliot writes "In my end is my beginning." The Lord has closed a few doors in my life in the past few months and He has opened at least one door that I know of.

    For the past several years, I have hoped that my hitchhiking days would soon end. I dislike hitchhiking and I dislike living on this planet, but I am here for a Divine Reason ("not my will, but Thine be done.") So I will say it one more time: maybe 2012 is my last year of hitchhiking. Maybe the Lord will let me settle down and let me generate some income.

    Here is another beautiful passage from "Four Quartets":

    "If you came this way,
    Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
    At any time or at any season,
    It would always be the same: you would have to put off
    Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
    Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
    Or carry report. You are here to kneel
    Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
    Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
    Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
    And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
    They can tell you, being dead: the communication
    Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
    Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
    Is England and nowhere. Never and always."

    "Little Gidding"
    --T.S. Eliot

    "And prayer is more
    Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
    Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying."

    Amen.

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  4. Randy: I greatly appreciate your spiritual depth and insights. Going back to "dawn points, and another day prepares for heat and silence." I have always been intrigued by the words "heat and silence". And you, obviously, picked up on it right away.

    Again this morning, I opened the door and saw the top part of the sun just over the eastern horizon. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established." Two mornings, two witnesses. Looks like we are supposed to be reading and meditating on "Four Quartets" today.

    Heat and silence. Life isn't just about being busy, busy, busy pursuing selfish desires (which some people call the will of God). Life is being--being still before God--heat and silence--not praying many words that mean nothing. Being still and knowing the Lordship of God.

    No words spoken. Being still. Heat and silence.

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  5. Randy: Here is another profound passage from "Four Quartets":

    "At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
    I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
    And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
    The inner freedom from the practical desire,
    The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
    And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
    By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving."

    "Burnt Norton
    --T.S. Eliot

    *****

    I am not sure if this has anything to do with "In the beginning", but in January of 2011 I was walking just north of Teton Pass near the Wyoming-Idaho stateline and this young lady picked me up and drove me to Bozeman, Montana. I first met her back in 2003; I hadn't seen her in maybe four years. I have had several dreams concerning her over several years. If I am hearing from God, I may have met my future wife in 2003.

    January. In the beginning. 2011--the beginning of a new decade.

    I hope my hitchhiking days are coming to an end.

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  6. "Words move, music moves
    Only in time; but that which is only living
    Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
    Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
    Can words or music reach
    The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
    Moves perpetually in its stillness.
    Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
    Not that only, but the co-existence,
    Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
    And the end and the beginning were always there
    Before the beginning and after the end.
    And all is always now. Words strain,
    Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
    Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
    Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
    Always assail them. The Word in the desert
    Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
    The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
    The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera."

    "Burnt Norton"
    --T.S. Eliot

    "Words move, music moves
    Only in time."

    (Which begs the question: If we are timeless, do we need words? Words move only in time. Sometimes there are too many words and so little time.)

    "Words, after speech, reach
    Into the silence."

    (If we are always busy speaking, we are not practicing silence; and if we are not silent before the Lord, how can He speak to us so that we can OBEY Him?)

    "Words strain,
    Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
    Will not stay still."

    "The Word in the desert
    Is most attacked by voices of temptation."

    "But that which is only living
    Can only die."

    (The useless words in our lives need to die out so that The Word (Christ) can live within us.)

    Psalm 46: 10: "Be still and know that I am God."

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  7. "The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
    Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless."

    "I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
    For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
    For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
    But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
    Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
    The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
    The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
    Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
    Of death and birth."

    ("the agony of death and birth": it is only through dying to self that Christ can truly be birthed and formed within us.)

    "The dripping blood our only drink,
    The bloody flesh our only food:
    In spite of which we like to think
    That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
    Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good."

    (I Corinthians 10: 16-17)

    "Love is most nearly itself
    When here and now cease to matter.
    Old men ought to be explorers
    Here or there does not matter
    We must be still and still moving
    Into another intensity
    For a further union, a deeper communion
    Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
    The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
    Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning."

    "East Coker"
    --T.S. Eliot

    In my end is my beginning.

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  8. In my end is my beginning. Amen. Tim thank you for your kind words and especially thank you for sharing these beautiful writings. Very special to ponder your thoughts dear brother. I tell ya. I appreciate your thoughts because frankly you have spent so much time in quiet, solitude as a vessel of Zion. You are very precious in our Master's sight dear Tim.
    I follow you and Sarah and have been and continually am so blessed, uplifted, corrected, instructed, and inspired to keep on keeping on. Thank you.

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  9. Tim, did some more thinking on your T.S. Eliot posts. In my morning devotions, these scriptures came to me: 1 John 1:1: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the WORD of LIFE. and 1 John 2:20: But ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things. Re: 1st John 1:1 in my bible I found some old notes. I believe they came from a Greek Lexicon. Here they are: "WORD = LOGOS = THE personified expression of God. There is one God, who has revealed himself through Jesus Christ His son who is His word proceeding from SILENCE without Oral pronouncement in a transcendent manner. "

    January 7, 2012 8:24 PM

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  10. Thanks, Randy.

    "WORD = LOGOS = THE personified expression of God. There is one God, who has revealed himself through Jesus Christ His son who is His word proceeding from SILENCE without Oral pronouncement in a transcendent manner. "

    Very profound. The quote above reminds me of these verses:

    I Corinthians 4: 20: "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power."

    Isaiah 19: 1: "The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it."

    The Presence of God is much more powerful than spoken or written words. Don't get me wrong: I greatly appreciate anointed preaching, teaching and writing (e.g. Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee). The life of a Christian is much more powerful than words; The Word (Jesus) is much more powerful than words.

    There was this English preacher, Smith Wigglesworth. One time he was riding in this train car. This other man walked into the same train car, looked at Smith and cried out, "You convict me of sin!" Smith didn't say one word. The man that ran from Smith (The Presence of God in Smith) eventually got saved. That is the power of the Presence of God in one man's life.

    *****

    "I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe."

    --Mary Queen of Scots

    *****

    "Am I making the Holy Spirit's work difficult by being indefinite, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with. I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Ghost, then as I bring the different ones before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them."

    --Oswald Chambers

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  11. Beautiful words and I thought of Ecclesiastes also for "East Coker." Tim will have to come back and read the last ones you posted when I have more time.

    I pray you will be able to settle in a place now and not hitchhike any more.

    Isa 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

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  12. Thank you, Sarah. Another great poem by T.S. Eliot is "Choruses from 'The Rock'".

    I am staying with some friends and they have always said that I could stay as long as I want. I am helping them do lawn work and general clean up on their properties. I am not sure how long I will be here; it would be great if I could stay at least till spring. Hitchhiking in mountain country in the winter can be a bit tough because the towns and ranches are few and far between and I don't have the best winter gear. But the Lord always takes care of me while I am on the road.

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  13. Wonderful, Powerful and most uplifting food for the Spiritual Man; i.e. our Spirit that communes with the Holy Spirit. As Watchman Nee wrote: Mankind is comprised of 3 parts: BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT. The Spirit part of man has 3 faculties: COMMUNION, (ability for us to talk to the Holy Spirit - God); CONSCIENCE (ability for us to know right from wrong) INTUITION (ability to discern). I must say dear Tim, I love reading your and Sarah's writings because they feed the spirit of the saints. God bless you, I also pray with my sister Sarah that you'd soon find a sure dwelling. Amen. God bless thank you.

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  14. Randy: Here are a few good quotes from "The Messenger of the Cross" by Watchman Nee:

    Page 11: "We cannot give what we do not have. If all we have is thought, we can only give thought. If in our life we do not have the experience of co-death with Christ to overcome sin and self nor the experience of taking up the cross to follow the Lord and suffer with Him, and if our knowledge of the word of the cross is obtained through people's pens and mouths but we cannot impart life; all we can do is instill the idea of the life of the cross in people's minds. Only when we ourselves are transformed by the cross and have received its spirit as well as its life are we able to impart the cross to other people."

    Page 13: "We become a living teaching and a living word; and what we preach is no longer simply an idea which we know but is our real life. This is the meaning of being 'doers of the word' according to the Biblical sense."

    Page 15: "For if we really are full of the Spirit due to the deeper work of the cross in us, we will spontaneously diffuse life in our conversation and our talk--whether private or public--so as to enrich those with whom we have contact. This does not require any self-effort or self-fabrication, but should be something most natural. And this thus fulfills what the Lord Jesus declares in John 7: 38: 'He that believeth on me . . . from within him shall flow rivers of living water.'"

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