How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:1-4
Yesterday I saw, for the first time, a nest of Barn Swallows. They were nesting firmly over the window of the camp cookhouse. The little baby Barn Swallows sat quietly waiting for their mother to deliver some yummy insects to them. In OT times the nests of birds were not removed from a place of worship because the birds were believed to be seeking the protection of the gods (or among Hebrews, God). (http://bible-history.com/isbe/N/NEST/) I was glad to see that this nest hadn’t been removed either. (Even though the birdy pooh was piling thickly up on the window!)
Ps. 84:3 is interesting because it implies that even the birds seek to dwell in the presence of God. The Barn Swallows awaiting their mother seemed to represent the idea of dwelling. The verb, “to dwell,” along with its many synonyms, (nesting, abiding, bunking, crashing, hanging out, inhabiting, living, lodging, perching, residing, rooming, roosting, settling, squatting, and staying) houses the idea of being at home: secure, at rest, comfortable, cozy, with a sense of belonging. The Barn Swallows were at rest, hanging out in a state of secure comfort and quiet expectancy. I love this image. David yearned for this; he longed to dwell in the presence of God, existing in a state of rest, belongingness, and completeness; he yearned for the feeling of finally being at home. David was not allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, but that is not the case for us. The curtain has been torn and we have access to the presence of God. We can make our nest, our home in God’s Presence. “Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere.”
Since I am allergic to animals and can’t have pets (other than my sweet Betta fish) and I live in a Prairie city that doesn’t have any animal wildlife, I am unable to join in the nature & pet storytelling. Oh, and I don’t like golf –so no “interesting” stories about that, either.
Today’s events are as close to nature as we get… Sarah and I went to visit the Royal Saskatchewan Museum where we saw a T-Rex (Mega Munch), several types of dinosaur bones, moose, elk, deer, buffalo, gray wolves, cougars, rabbits, snakes, and birds of all kinds; all were stuffed or plastic, of course. These creatures are fully amenable to posing for pictures, if you have a camera. Lighting was good, too. We even saw lots of old fossils–no need to go to Calgary family reunions ! The boys enjoyed some “nature” on the bike path, and they set up our volleyball net in the backyard and played “beach” volleyball. Oh, they also pitched the tent and they will be “camping out” tonight. The temperature is supposed to go down to 9 degrees so that should be nice and cool and nature-like!
You, too, can hear Mega Munch roar
These days my mind is full of Romeo and Juliet, Westside Story, and Romiette and Julio. I plan to teach all three to my grade 9 class during internship this fall. Ancient feuds, philosophies of love, the fine line between love and hate, unrequited, forbidden, complicated love, ….these are some of the themes I’ve been tossing around in my brain. Deep stuff for 14 year olds!
Some romantic notions of love, such as Plato’s ideas that love is a spiritual longing to possess beauty, and Aristotle’s ideas that love occurs when two hearts and one soul meet, are still common beliefs today, thus the expressions “platonic love” and “soul mates.”
What is your philosophy of romantic love? Is it a choice? Is it simply a series of actions and preferences? Is it a chemical/physical/emotional response to another person? Some, (especially Woody Allen) believe that love occurs when you meet your own ideal self, embodied in an “other”. (Complete narcissism! Self-love is all we are capable of in this view) Others believe that love occurs simply because we respond to beauty? When is it appropriate to express love, when is it inappropriate? Why does the English language only have one word for “love” when there are so many types of love, and so many expressions appropriate to these types of love? Do you think there is confusion about love and appropriate expressions of love in our society?
What do you make of Sedgwick’s theory of the “homoerotic triangle” in which women are only the object that draws men closer together? Are men only capable of erotic love? Is all love based in eros?
Feel free to comment…