The Eagle and Child
If the French poets, theologues, and artists were becoming “enlightened” in a Grand Dame’s salon or cozied up in a Parisian Cafe on the Boulevard Saint Germain, you could surely find the English, pint of ale in hand, matching wits at pubs like the “The Eagle and Child” in Oxford. The Eagle and Child pub was the legendary meeting place for the “Inklings,” a Thursday evening gathering of intellect, creativity, theology, and much comedic banter that included two of my all time favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. It was at the Eagle and Child that C.S. Lewis first introduced his ideas and manuscript for “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” to his friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! There are no better characters in literature than Aslan or Gandalf!
I don’t know about you but I am on a life-long endeavor to make “faith-sense” of who I am, who God is, and what God’s purpose is for my life in however many breaths I am blessed here on earth. The longer I am here, the more convinced I am that God is sending us messages, nudging at our spirit, even gifting us with signs, big and small, to help us move closer to the “divinely” human beings God created us to be. A life of purpose and great meaning requires a curious soul and an open heart! In this spirit I offer to the “Bread and Honey” salon this week Rainer Maria Rilke (that’s a mouthful!) Enjoy and feel free to offer up your own authors, poets, artists, anyone that has given you a glimpse at glory and helped shape your faith! I am a hungry student!
May I introduce you to Rainer Maria Rilke. He was a Bohemian German poet who spent his life seeking a deep and loving encounter with the Divine. In his younger days, he moved to Paris and was an apprentice to the legendary French sculptor, Rodin! I was introduced to Rilke in a theology and writing class at Vanderbilt Divinity School. In his book, Letters to a Young Poet, he said, “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
And this is my all-time favorite poem and inspiration for a piece of writing I am working on right now:
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
I love this poem more than you know. Despite the gravity of what it means to be human and what we must endure here on earth, God never stops offering us his hand.
Live in Hope,