“Light In Our Dwellings”

Night Cabin by Andrey Golubev
Melodies kindled by hearth fires:
the refrigerator murmurs like a cello
in concert with the clanging cymbals of platters,
the violin strings of scarlet wine,
the oboe winds that scatter the leftover
crumbs of bread —

Supper flames are quenched,
night deepens towards the precipice of dawn,
outside the window
the eyelids of frozen branches close,
await the feeble warmth of winter morning.

Foxes have holes,
the graceful gazelle runs homeward
to the ebony forest,
egrets fly to their nests in the fir trees,
the mountain goats climb to their high places.

Praise, praise,
for the laughter of light in our dwellings,
the crimson fire of corpuscles pulsating
with the pendulum of time —

Praise, praise to Thee,
O Giver of Light and Life,
O Source of Strength and Joy.

D. G. Vachal © 2014

*** Photography Credit: “Night Cabin” by Andrey Golubev

“To Be Of God”

The Sun Also Rises by Melanie Wells
In a poem “Au Lecteur  (To the Reader)”  by Charles Baudelaire, a preface to his collection of poems entitled “Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil)”,  the French poet presents a pessimistic view of humanity’s condition, envisioning a world of hypocrisy, death, sin, boredom, and utter decay, watched over and promoted by Satan himself. This view mirrors the Bible’s perspective of the heart and nature of  mankind without God, as well as the existence of evil, which aims to defeat God’s good and loving purposes in human lives.

The Apostle John writes to Christians at Ephesus to assure them of eternal life through their faith in Christ, emphasizing that they are “of God” while the whole world ” lies in the power of the evil one.”

John portrays the world as under the influence of Satan, an evil power reigning over all its aspects. Satan is diametrically opposed to God, and his ultimate objective is to turn us away from the Creator, using all kinds of maneuvers to disrupt our relationship and fellowship with Him. “The world” is anything that would try to deceive us to feel satisfied without our need for God.

To be “of God” is in complete contrast to the state of the world, and the Apostle seems to imply that it is the only possible dichotomy.  It means that Christians have been taken out of the clutches of the evil forces of Satan’s army. We are initially born into this world under the dominion of sin and darkness, but through the atoning sacrifice of God’s Son at Calvary, we are delivered and brought into God’s marvelous light.

In a positive sense, it implies that we belong to God, His realm, and His Kingdom. Our sins have been forgiven, and we have entered into an entirely new relationship with God, being reconciled to Him through Christ. We are no longer controlled by the evil one, but are under the direction of God and His Spirit, with outward manifestations in our lives.

How then, shall one distinguish between one who is “of God” and one who is not? The great St. Augustine said that the first test of the Christian life, and the second, and the third, is humility.  It is to be like Christ, who, though He was equal with God, thought it not something to be grasped at. He humbled himself to be born into this world like one of us. Humility, then, is the litmus test because the worldly spirit is the very antithesis of it, where pride, arrogance and self-confidence are highly prized, promoted, and encouraged.

To be “of God” means that we are destined for God, to spend eternity with Him. And because of this assurance, we are filled with a sense of awe and wonder at the manner of love that our Heavenly Father has towards us — that we should be called children of God.

Scripture Reference:

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  I John 5:19 (New American Standard Bible)


Charles Baudelaire,  “Au Lecteur / To the Reader” in “Fleurs du Mal / Flowers of Evil”, Paris, 1857.  Available at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6099

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Life in Christ, Studies in I John”, Crossway:Wheaton, Illinois, 2002, pp. 691-712

Photography:  “The Sun Also Rises” by Melanie Wells

“Morning Light”

Morning Light 7 resized
Morning Light

Fervent feet step into aisles
of a buttressed cathedral
shod in shoes the colors of the sky,
vitelline sun,
clay after the rain —

Knees bend into kneeling
pads of the prism,
blinking eyelids
descend into oblivious
oceans of praise —

At the the stroke of celestial
harp strings,
earthenware vessels of infinite
colors coalesce
into a niveous porcelain vase:

flawless as the morning light,
the morning’s evanescent white.

D. G. Vachal © 2013

“Swept by Surprise to Moonlit Shores”

Swept by Surprise to Moonlit Shores

Is there a weeping too deep
for the knowing,
when beauty seeps into the open
pores of the soul,
descends to the ocean floors
of our breathing,
swept by surprise to moonlit shores
by irregular tides —

Beauty astounds,
ruffles the colors of the corals,
disrupts the nettled pearling
of the oysters,
the wanderings of hermit crabs,
the tapestral flowering of anemones
upon the glaucous-velvet rocks —

Underneath, where it is very deep,
the blinding light dazzles,
it reaches upwards
to interminable heights,
from the tide pool to the far distance
where ancient stars blossom
incandescent pink —

Tell me,
are there waters warm enough,
is there salt enough
to mold the tears that fall
from the wonder of it all?

by D. G. Vachal © 2013

Author’s Note:  My allusion to looking from the tide pool to the stars is inspired by  John Steinbeck’s words in his book “Log of the Sea of Cortez: “It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

*** Image by Luis Argerich @ Flickr Commons

Not from Gibbons, but in the Image of God

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:27

“Inaccuracies in a science textbook come from two primary sources. The first is human error.  Authors, editors, and illustrators occasionally make mistakes. Fortunately, such mistakes are rare.”  (1)

I stared at irony in the face.

I was dumbfounded as I thumbed through my daughter’s Biology textbook, particularly when I recognized the book’s foundation from which the study of life on this planet is based upon: a random force of evolution that somehow brings about the order and the wondrous intricacies of all forms of life.

The theory professes that man emerged as a result of primate evolution based on the concept of a molecular clock of time and DNA sequences in a mitochondrial gene. Along this timeline emerged the species of siamang gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, whereupon man came into existence as a result of random changes that emerged in the genome. (2)

Random changes that emerged in the genome.  How is it, then, that out of all the gazillion random changes among all forms of life, only the homo sapiens species is controlling the planet’s resources and transforming the world through its intelligence?

Contrary to the man-made theory that molecules are the origin of life, the Bible states that God created man in His own image.  Everything starts with God, the first cause, the Creator of the universe.  Let us consider this concept of God’s image in the human species.

Jonathan Edwards describes two main elements of this divine image concept. “The natural image consists very much in that by which God in His creation distinguished man from the beasts, namely, in those faculties and principles of nature whereby he is capable of moral agency.”  The “spiritual and moral image, consisted in that moral excellence with which man at the beginning was endowed” by God.  (3)

What are the capacities that make us like God and unlike ordinary beasts?

John Stott distills these faculties into five distinct characteristics:  “Firstly, we human beings are rational and self-conscious.  Secondly, we are moral, having a conscience that urges us to do what we perceive to be right.  Thirdly, we are creative, like our Creator, able to appreciate what is beautiful to the ear and the eye.  Fourthly, we are social, able to establish with one another authentic relationships of love.  For God is love, and by making us in His own image, He has given us the capacity to love Him and others.  Fifthly, we have a spiritual faculty that makes us hunger after God.  Thus we are uniquely able to think and to choose, to create, to love, and to worship.” (4)

Being made in God’s image breaks the shackles, the chain of evolution theory, that pigeonholes human beings into the taxonomies of the animal kingdom.  And as God’s image-bearers, we recognize that the sanctity of human life is irrefutable, its value, beyond measure.

by D. G. V.


(1) Brooker, Widmaier, Graham and Stiling, “Biology”, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008, p. vii
(2) Ibid. p. 548
(3) Jonathan Edwards, (1703-1758), Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998
(4) John Stott, Through the Bible Through the Year”, Baker Books, 2006, p. 18.

*** Photography:  Fisherman by Jose Miguel Rodriguez