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03 / autumn issue

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I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

the CULTIVATING

journal

Mystery at the epicentre

September 22, 2018



 

There is a mystery sown deep in us before we are even born. It rests in the epicenter of our being, a built-in homing beacon as it were, that sets in us a longing. The longing becomes our navigating point. Our North Star. That longing, deep and persistent in us, is the truest part of who we are.  “Reason” will often deny it as will the voices of others. “How can you want something that doesn’t exist?” You have heard that probably. So have I. For many years I even tried to believe it.

But in the stillness when I can hear my own soul speak with her own clear voice and I hear the ‘still, small voice’ of God. I know that what I long for is Real though it is not here yet. My whole soul and spirit recognizes it from afar and recognizes it nearby. Everything that is Good, and True, and Beautiful around me points to it declaring its great certainty.

I become like Puddleglum in The Silver Chair declaring his statement of faith against the enchantment of the Green Lady.

“. . .Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things — trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies playing a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

Puddleglum’s declaration of faith and sanity is one of my favourite passages in all of literature. When the voices of “reason” whisper well-phrased arguments against what you know in your heart to be true – resist, even if it costs you something. It will cost something.

Remember this.

We are born here, but not born to remain here.

It takes courage to choose again every day to believe in a place that cannot be seen yet.

But it is the belief itself that proves our citizenship.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

Philippians 3:20-21



I shot the image above in Shotover Park in Headington, Oxfordshire. 

The quote by C.S. Lewis has shaped my faith and worldview for more than 30 years.

Many blessings to you, friend!



 

Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner based in Colorado. She is editor-in-chief of the online quarterly magazine Cultivating the  Good, True, & Beautiful, and is founder of The Cultivating Project, a discipling initiative for Christians engaged in the arts. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is passionate about the spiritual formation and discipling creative believers. She and her husband Peter run a thriving environmental and engineering firm and try to keep up with their rambling house and gardens called House on the Way. Lancia loves nearly every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis; drinks strong black coffee with whipped coconut oil and cinnamon; and sincerely hopes in her lifetime to reach zero in her inbox!

Lancia E. Smith

comments

  1. Jon McMinn

    September 25th, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Final test (hopefully!)

  2. Matthew Moore Clark

    September 28th, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Lancia, thanks for pointing this out. I had forgotten it, but it’s timely. Luke and I talked a lot this month on the road about pursuing our work even when we feel like fools for it, even when it costs a lot.

    I also read an article today suggesting that a culture that has despaired of the true, good, and beautiful will be overcome by resentment and anger towards God and will look to hurtful ways in order to ‘feel’ again what they can no longer believe in.

    I think this work of cultivating matters in the fight to hold up the real hope of friendship with God in this age.

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