Thursday, May 20, 2010

Earth is Crammed with Heaven

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes, the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I stumbled upon this quote just this morning in one of my wife's books. Every morning on the train I pass by a small glimpse of heaven (or at least what I would hope heaven might be like). Just past Cuxton on the way towards Meopham is a small valley full of farms and fields that change almost daily with the seasons. Going from alternate rich green and yellow fields in the spring, to a uniform green mottled with red poppies in early summer, then white with wheat in August. Meanwhile the trees in the hedgerows and a small woodland in the midst of the valley go from winter's bare skeletons to a riot of spring blossom to lush summer greens and then autumn golds and reds.

But most of the train is too buried in their papers, iPods books and (indeed) Blackberries, or else are too fast asleep to notice. I miss it too, most mornings, but every now and again I see this valley on my way in to London and my heart leaps and gives praise. On my way back from London, especially in the lighter evenings of spring and summer I give thanks whenever this valley comes into view, as it reminds me that I am near home - both physically and spiritually.

This little valley, glimpsed twice a day for barely a minute is, for me at least, a reminder of God's incredible creativity and artistry, and of his tangible presence in a Creation that holds together through his very Word.

Earth is crammed with heaven indeed, even in an obscure part of Northwest Kent.

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