Letter from Scotland

By Olive Jones

I was asked recently by our local Presbyterian church to speak for a few minutes in the devotional session of an afternoon meeting -- not part of the church service. I am not a member of the church but I go to the meetings -- all the people here go to functions held by other denominations. The women who are members are truly excellent people doing their best (and more) to make the world a better place in which to live. They give of their time, energy, and money to this end, so I go to meetings and agree with much gusto with the ideas that I believe in, but remain quite silent on points of dogma that I oppose. Such points, anyway, are just the "trimmings" and quite unimportant. What is important to me is what these ladies practice and achieve.

At that afternoon meeting I am going to be talking about the creator, whom we call God, sharing my own thoughts and those of others on this massive subject. First of all, who or what is God? Of course, we cannot really answer this great mystery: we are human and our minds can't take in Infinity. But we somehow know that there is a God -- a law, if you like -- that is available to us all. When a boy whose kite had soared out of sight was asked how he knew it was still there, he said, "I feel the pull of it." There is the pull of the invisible too. We can feel it, just as we cannot see the wind but we know the wind is there.

I am convinced of the something we call God; there is no sense in life otherwise. Our lives run to a pattern. We are born, we live, and then we die: this is a certainty. What we do with our lives is our own affair; but the law and order of the universe is breathtaking -- the rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the seasons with wondrous regularity, the positioning of the stars and the amazing fact that they remain in the heavens and don't fall on our heads! These are miracles indeed. I saw the following illuminated sentences on a wall picture of an elderly lady nearby:

I believe -- in all things beautiful, in the beauty of simple things.
I believe -- in music where the melody is quickly found and in poems that sound like a song.
I believe -- in books that hold no ugly thoughts; in pictures that rest the eye and soothe the senses; in plays that keep the heart young.
Little things delight me -- a sunbeam on a blade of grass, a dewdrop in the heart of a flower, a daisy with a rosy frill.
I believe in joy and Laughter; in Sentiment; in Love; in Reverence.
I believe in all things beautiful.
I believe in God. -- M. Aumonnier

The poet Edith Sitwell once said she had looked at the patterns of frost on a window pane, had studied shells, petals, and grasses, and she knew without a doubt that there must be a cause or divine principle behind designs of such infinite variety and beauty. She came "to believe that the cause is God."

So let us reverently close our eyes and think about this invisible, inscrutable, ever-present Divinity we call God. In the words of St. Columba:

Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today, tonight, and forever.

(From Sunrise magazine, December 1990/January 1991. Copyright © 1991 by Theosophical University Press)

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