#512: Looking Up



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Reflections by the Pond
August 15, 2011

Looking Up

The first television of my acquaintance was small, weighed a ton, and sported a fuzzy, monochromatic image. To receive that ghostly image, my dad connected a wide, flat wire to an antenna mounted atop our house. Magically, the antenna received it's signal laterally through thin air, but it was adversely affected by the curve of the earth. It didn't take too many miles for the fragile image to be reduced to "snow."

The first television of my childhood was as earthbound as I. Compared to the sub-compact that was my first, my television today is a Mack truck. Its expansive, full-color, high-definition image is received not through a flat wire, but a round cable that connects not to an antenna, but to a small, round dish atop our house. It's signal is not affected in any way by the curvature of the earth, or the distance to the television station, since it is received via three satellites in geosynchronous orbit about our planet.

Today I do not peer laterally across the surface of the earth for my television image. I look up to the heavens.

° ° °

The first computer of my acquaintance was a heavy, slow, monochromatic machine that hadn't the slightest idea he had brethren elsewhere. He was a detached and lonely oasis of digital technology in an antiquated, analog desert. Later, a brand new computer friend came equipped with the realization that there were others out there of like kind. And he knew how to talk to them. But he did so through a wire connected to the wall. His discourse, though remarkable at the time, was earthbound.

My constant companion today is fast on his feet, reveals himself in a rainbow of colors, and is fully aware that there are myriad like him. In any given day he carries on discourse with hundreds of other computers—only now there is no wire connecting him to the wall. Through the air he is connected to a small box, which is, in turn, connected to another small dish mounted atop our house. He communicates with the outside world, like his cousin the television, via a different satellite in geosynchronous orbit above our planet.

Today I do not dial a land line to connect my computer with others. I look to the heavens.

° ° °

I may have many valid, even profitable reasons to peer laterally across earth's surface. Not the least of these is my fellow man, from whom I find friendship, companionship, and with whom I fellowship by common Spirit. There is beauty here, as well, beauty that enriches, inspires, comforts.

But the source of my being does not dwell here. I have been set here for a purpose—an honorable, even holy purpose—but the source for who I am and what I do is not here. He is in the heavens.

To You I lift up my eyes,
O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He is gracious to us.

Psalm 123:1-2

I carry around inside me a personal "dish" that remains perfectly aligned with the corresponding "satellite" in geosynchronous orbit. The Holy Spirit, living within, is in constant communication with God. He never loses that connection.

But I may. There are few forces more powerful than earth's gravity. We rise each morning with the burden of it on our backs. Throughout each day we are pressed down by its pervasive force. We are people of the soil, and it works to keep us within its grasp.

Every morning, when we rise, we must force our gaze heavenward, up and out of this oppressive gravity, to reestablish our link with our Father—He who created us, who sustains us, who breathed into us eternal life.

° ° °

Oh how the thought of God attracts
And draws the heart from earth,
And sickens it of passing shows
And dissipating mirth!

'Tis not enough to save our souls,
To shun the eternal fires;
The thought of God will rouse the heart
To more sublime desires.

God only is the creature's home,
Though rough and straight the road;
Yet nothing less can satisfy
The love that longs for God.

Oh utter but the Name of God
Down in Your heart of hearts,
And see how from the world at once
All tempting light departs.

Frederick William Faber