The Last Minute

“It is within my power either to serve God, or not to serve Him. Serving Him I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good which was within my power to create.”
—Leo Tolstoy

“If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”
—Homer Simpson

I love the last minute. All the high stakes moments in sports happen in the final seconds: the buzzer beater, the shootout, the hail mary. Also exciting: barely making it through the yellow-turned-red light, the climactic movie scene, witnessing the countdown to LIFT OFF. The last minute provides a rush of adrenaline that my otherwise jittery attention span locks onto.

I’m sure this “rush” is the only conceivable explanation for procrastinating so badly on a recent challenge I accepted. The task was simple: take $100 and see how much you can multiply it for good in a year. The possibilities of multiplying $100 looked bright at the dawn of 2017, but each week I tallied the same dim result: nothing risked, nothing gained.

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The Great Joke

G. K. Chesterton in his study. (public domain)

G.K. Chesterton has intrigued me since my youth minister first introduced me to the big man’s writing in ninth grade. I tend toward melancholy, and there is a powerful current of joy running through all of Chesterton’s work that has since mystified and captivated me, even as I’ve struggled to believe in it at all. A recurring concept in Chesterton’s writings is that only those who take something very seriously can really take it lightly. Chesterton is known as the Prince of Paradox, and this one has stumped me for many years. I might say it has haunted me. It didn’t make any sense, but still I sensed it to be true.

Joy has been elusive to me. At one point, I called myself a ‘detrimentalist’, and wondered why, since I seemed to take everything so seriously, I wasn’t able to break through to Chesterton’s way of taking things lightly. The only kind of lightness I really knew how to do was, in reality, flippancy, which is a fear-filled unwillingness to take a serious look at anything. Joy was hidden from me. I would arrive as the thread of smoke straggled from a just-extinguished candle, or feel the lingering warmth of the brass door knob as I entered the room, coldness billowing through the open window where some fiery angel had only just vacated the place. There was some Presence I simply couldn’t find my way to.

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Awakening to Beauty

Balthasar van der Ast Stilleven met schelpen en herfststijloos 1593-1657

It’s that time of year when our senses awaken again to beauty. Though winter has its own beauty, there is just something about spring. New life, new growth and warmth, all come together to somehow make us feel alive again after the long, dark and cold days of winter. Every time I see redbuds coming out in the spring, I cannot help but think of my mother.
She adored redbuds and every spring her enthusiasm never waned for their bright beauty and the vernal hope of spring. That woman loved beauty. Her entire life, she loved beauty. Even when she was in the middle of her battle with Alzheimer’s, she was still awake to the beauty around her. Whether it was singing a hymn, or filling her home with little trinkets that she found lovely even in her confused state… she was constantly surrounding herself with beauty even at the end.

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Figures of Christ – Echoes of the Divine in Literature and Film

The Bible can be understood, in part, as the great overarching narrative of humanity’s relationship with God. It is a story in four acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration. Woven throughout the testaments is the figure of Christ.

The figure of Christ, regardless of our understanding or knowledge of the biblical narrative, has permeated the worldview of mankind since well before recorded history. Somehow, deep in the very essence of our being we long for Messiah. We look for Him in nature and in human relationships. We see there merely echoes and fingerprints. Most of all we look for Him in our own narratives, the stories we tell ourselves and each other that help us make sense of the world, and in the stories we create to merely entertain. Joseph Campbell reduces these echoes to single idea, a hero with a thousand faces.

The Foundling House has asked a few of our readers and contributors to share their own favorite Christ figures, or Christ images from literature, film and comics. Here are some of our picks.

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Finding Wonder Every Day

As I was going through a sort of hard time in my life a little while back, I looked at the world around me, and wondered how people could be smiling and laughing and enjoying life, when my future looked so bleak. I had worked so hard to get to my job and the place where I was. But it turned out I didn’t like that place I was in, and the only way I saw to deal with it was to do just that: deal with it. Get through the days, feeling as little as possible, and trying not to think about my disappointment in the life I was living.

Working in such a secular environment, it puzzled me even further that if I was the one who was a Christian and had the light of Christ inside me, why was it that these people who didn’t know Christ had this ability to enjoy their lives so much more than I felt I was capable of? Well maybe they liked where they were. Or maybe they didn’t. But it is more probable that I was ignoring everything the Bible has ever told me about embracing life for the short time I am in this world.

You see, the Bible calls us to so much more than just getting through every day, like I was doing. We are called by the spirit to live in the moment and participate in life, because we never know what will be coming next, and we have no hope to truly control what does.

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Miracles and Monuments

Have you ever had one of those moments where you felt like you finally got what life was all about? Not just life in general, but your own specific life. Have you ever seen, just for a minute, what might be going on behind that miraculous curtain of purpose, and afterward, you knew exactly what to do next, and why? Maybe it sounds too good to be true, but I think I’ve had a few of these revelations in my life. Thing is, I don’t always recognize them while they’re happening. Like those winding mazes we used to solve on the back of a kids’ menu, sometimes the path is easier to see once we’ve made it to the end.

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