1) From a hymn:
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasures
None but Zion’s children know.
~ “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” by John Newton (1779)
This reflects how I feel about some of the spectacles the world puts on. The Academy Awards, the Olympics, The Super Bowl and so on contain so much hype and such little substance when you get right down to it.
John Newton’s words were set to the tune of Haydn’s “Austrian Hymn” in 1889. This was the same tune as the German national anthem. I was told that when post-war immigrants from the Netherlands came to Canada they had a difficult time singing this hymn because of the association with the nation that had invaded their land. However, those who looked closely at its message were able to overcome this negative link.
2) From an epic novel:
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
~Haldir, an elf in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring (1966)
One thing I am enjoying so much about re-reading this 1,000-page tale (after twenty years) is the number of wise and good characters. Some novels have only one hero, who singlehandedly overcomes obstacles and odds. More true-to-life is the hero who has a support system of people with names and even allies he may not know about. It’s true in our own lives. The people in the background of the story of our lives are more important than we know through such things as their prayers and their faithfulness to God.
3) From a statesman:
“Sin lives solely by plagiarizing the ideas of God”
~Abraham Kuyper in a speech entitled “Uniformity” (1869)
It is good to be reminded that creativity rests with God. All that sin can do is degrade or corrupt that which was created “good.”