Scout and I were near to the end of our late evening walk. It was clear and cool in Brandon, and the stars shone with both brilliance and clarity - unusual for the typically moisture-laden Florida air. We had walked close to three miles, and I was listening to a message by one of my favorite authors - John Ortberg.
The message itself was good; not necessarily something to write home about, but solid Ortberg fare nonetheless. However, and this can often happen, the message attuned me to deeper things, and my thought processes were primed for receptivity on my spiritual frequency. Consequently, when the message concluded - about ten minutes shy of arriving back home - I felt inspired to cultivate the mood and I scrolled through the iPod menu until I found Robert Shaw's "Choral Masterworks" album.
I played just one track - Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus (K. 618) - and the rich tapestry of layered voice and organ resonated with my soul in a way that invited both wonder and reflection.
I looked around me and found that it wasn't only the majestic night sky that touched the inner places of my being, but also the human elements of street-scape and golf-course and street light and automobile and iPod and choral masterworks...
It was a moment of what's called "Natural Theology" but with a twist. Natural Theology argues that there is evidence in the created order that points to God; for me - at least last night - it was the evidence revealed in civilization that pointed me to a spiritual experience. I thought about how short my life is, how fragile I am and how it could so easily be over in a moment - and then I considered all the skill,and imagination, and creativity, and hard work, and cumulative knowledge, and design, and commitment, and generations of thought that it took to provide the elements that made up that three hundred yards or so of Laurel Oak and Summit View Drives, and the two minutes and fifty-six seconds of musical accompaniment.
I simply felt overwhelmed by the complexity and the creativity that defines even the most routine of moments in my day-to-day. The experience spoke directly to my soul and I was full with the truth of God.
I'm not saying that everyone should have the same response as I did. But what I am saying is that we should all allow ourselves more room to wonder, and that we should all learn to listen more closely to the extant messages, more present than we realize - even if it's just for two minutes and fifty-six seconds during Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus: