By Stephen W. Hiemstra
One of the quiet changes of recent weeks has been the rediscovery of private space. It is hard to get lost in the crowd when there is no longer a crowd to get lost in.
While some still try to drown out the drearies with alcohol or streaming video—sales of both are up, sales of spiritual books are also up. Personal reflection and the still, small voice of God is being given more space.
One of my favorite woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is the Knight, Death, and the Devil. The woodcut shows the knight on a stately horse in his armor followed by his dog and being tempted by the devil. Far from being tempted, the knight ignores the devil and continues on his journey. Meanwhile, the dismal landscape around them is littered with skulls, a symbol of death and destruction.
The photograph above shows me playing in the snow around 1955 on my grandfather’s farm in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The farm today is overgrown with weeds and trees. The buildings have long since disappeared. The only reminder of the feedlot is a dry tap from the well. The farmhouse belongs to the neighbor and has been rented out to local kids that neglect it.
The proud private space that my grandfather’s farm represented has physically been lost, but it is not forgotten by those that once lived there. The space we now occupy is better heated and has conveniences that we might never have imaged in 1955. Yet, the temptations remain. The death and destruction seen once on battlefields of the past and represented by the cold, snows of winter also remain. The question is whether we still have the fortitude like the knight to give the devil a cold shoulder.
Water Cooler Observations, May 6, 2020
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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net
Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.