“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Hopkins

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


Recommended reading: Psalm 8, Psalm 19


Hopkins tells us that God’s glory in the world is an electric current (“charged”), shines like light reflecting from flecks of foil and is like a thick oil. Since God’s presence on earth is so great, why don’t people pay heed to (“reck” – see “reckless”) his authority (“rod”)?

Like the teacher shows in Ecclesiastes, human existence is vain, arduous, and repetitive. Generations have come and gone, being spent on their work. And yet nature still speaks to spiritual realities – just as the sun sets in the west to rise again in the east so also the Holy Spirit continually refreshes creation.

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