Nicene Orthodoxy, Fireflies, and the Wonder of it All
Summer has descended on us here in the Missisippi pine woods, with heat, sun, and heat. It has not rained in several days- odd, considering the torrents of rain and assualts of severe weather the rest of the South has been recieving. However, it makes for pleasant evenings, and a fine brisk wind has been keeping us company for a couple days now, providing a fine respite from the heat.
Despite the heat, my youngest brother, Joseph, age six, attached to his mind a few days ago the idea of going camping: a horrible pursuit for midday when the mercury reads ninety in the shade. However, I obliged, providing we set up camp late in the afternoon, when a tent is somewhat more tolerable. This agreed to (though he was not completely pleased, any sort of waiting being an eternity at this age), we pitched camp once the heat of the afternoon had dissipated. We laid out my little backpacking tent at the edge of the woods, on the thick lawn of St. Augustine grass.
Upon erecting the tent, we played on the swing set, where Joseph engaged in theological conversation concerning Jesus. He seemed a bit confused on how Jesus and God interacted- slight verbal confussions not being at all foriegn to Joseph, but, as the history of the Church's Ecunemical Councils tells, being of extreme importance in discussions of our Lord. I did my best to explain that Jesus is both God and man, and after a minute, Joseph was able to make the two seemingly insoluable natures mesh in his mind's understanding- "Jesus is God! That's why we call Him the Son of God." This is, of course, the belief he has been taught for some time now, but I suppose it is only natural to have to come to grips with the rather perplexing proposition on one's own, and actually think about it and have it established in the mind. At any rate the deity of Christ certainly sparked his mind, and a moment later, after we had talked further, he jumped and exclaimed, with the enthusiasm of one who has chanced on a marvelous discovery, "We worship Jesus because He is God!"
Later on, as the sun's light faded into the epheral gray-silver of the moon, I noticed fireflies flashing down in the wood, among the yaupon bushes and pine trees. Pointing it out to Joseph, he immediately was captivated. Now, he had seen fireflies before, but it had been some time, and I do not suppose he recalled them. It was all quite new to him. He ran down into the woods, calling back to me, "Look at how beautiful they are! How beautiful!" (His very words; he has quite an expressive vocabulary) With raptured wonder he ran back up to the house to get my mother, and for quite some time we admired the fireflies' show- really a fine one, which was accented by a poor-will's-widow's chorus which opened up not far from the house. Joseph was completely delighted by the remarkable spectacle, and we enjoyed it for quite some time.
Now, I must confess that I am all to guilty of taking wonderful things such as the divinity of Christ and the flashing lights of fireflies, and reducing them to mere facts. A creedal statement is something I believe, but I am reticent to express wonder at it- yet God being made man is one of the most wondrous 'facts' on this earth! It is indeed forever new, for it never grows old. The Gospel never ceases to work within me, and my God's grace, I hope that it never ceases to amaze me. We are called to come to God as children, and I cannot help but think part of that should involve a child-like sense of rapture and wonder at this truth so much grander than us, not trying to understand how all this can be, but to believe it, and stand before God in rapt awe. And I should hope to hold the same attitude towards these multitudes of other remarkable things that I behold day by day: the strange and marvelous spectacle of fireflies at dusk, a thing I cannot truly understand or explain. I should hope I may always retain a sense of wonder at such things, and behold them as bright treasures, sent down from the Father of all light, the God Who gives us every good gift.