Separated from the Stars (Madeleine L’Engle, speaking through the years words we need now more than ever.)

“If we look at the make up of the word disaster, dis-aster, we see dis, which means separation, and aster, which means stars. So dis-aster is separation from the stars. Such separation is disaster indeed. When we are separated from the stars, the sea, each other, we are in danger of being separated from God.

Sometime the very walls of our churches separate us from God and each other. In our various naves and sanctuaries we are safely separated from those outside, from other denominations, other religions, separated from the poor, the ugly, the dying. I’m not advocating pulling down the walls of our churches, though during the activist sixies I used to think it might be a good idea if we got rid of all churches which seated more than two hundred. But then I think of the huge cathedral which is my second home in New York, and how its great stone arms welcome a multitude of different people, from the important and affluent to waifs and strays and the little lost ones of a great, overcrowded city. We need to remember that the house of God is not limited bo a building that we usually visit for only a few hours on Sunday. The house of God is not a safe place. It is a cross where time and eternity meet, and where we are – or should be – challenged to live more vulnerably, more interdependently. Where, even with the light streaming in rainbow colors through the windows, we can listen to the stars.” – Madeleine L’Engle

One of the best gifts I gave myself last year (it is, as they say, the gift that keeps on giving) was Madeleine L’Engles Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections.  I grew up on L’Engle’s fiction, and her nonfiction writing has been one of the best discoveries of my adult life. I’m making my way through her Crosswicks journals, but when I heard about a daily devotional type book of her writing I knew I had to have it. Her gentle language and wise thoughts are the perfect end to my every day. I could share half of what I’ve read, and every day gives me something to think about (usually something lovely and something that points me to God – though in a very different way than I’m used to.)

Here’s to hoping for a world in which we are less separated from the stars, and from each others.

Madeleine L'Engle _The House of God is not a safe place..._


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