Roundup: Childlike faith, benediction, WWI art, and a poem

“Four Ways Children Do Faith Better Than Adults” by Stephen Mattson: Curious, honest, passionate, excited, adventurous. Oh, to have faith like a child!

“Benediction: To Hear a Good Word” by Justin Ruddy: The benediction is a liturgical element that I wasn’t familiar with until I moved to Boston and joined a church that closes every service with it. Now I look forward to the benediction every week—there’s such empowerment in it, and it has made me so much more aware of the activity of the three persons of the Godhead in daily life. This sermon was preached last Sunday at my church as part of our Liturgy for Life series. Ruddy emphasizes that we need to listen to God’s good words to us, which drown out all the false and discouraging words the world speaks, and not only that, but we, as Christians, ought to be walking benedictions, speaking the good words of the gospel into the lives of those around us.

This month’s issue of National Geographic magazine has a feature on the photography of Jeff Gusky, from his series “The Hidden World of WWI.” These photographs explore the little-known rock quarries of France’s Picardy region that sheltered soldiers from all sides during the Great War, down beneath the trenches. Preserved there are various personal expressions that Americans, French, and Germans carved into the walls—names, portraits, religious and patriotic symbols, caricatures, wartime imagery, whimsical animal cartoons, and so on. Visit to see more photos from this project.

Praying French soldier

This image of a French soldier praying was carved by an unknown artist in a subterranean chapel in France during World War I. Photograph by Jeff Gusky, from the Hidden World of WWI series.

Commemorative art installation outside the Tower of London: To mark the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies will be progressively installed around the Tower of London through November 11—one for every British military fatality during the war. Commissioned by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, this massive work was conceived and created by Paul Cummins, with installation design by Tom Piper. It’s titled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, after a line from a poem by an English soldier who died in the Great War. When the installation closes, the poppies will be on sale for £25 each, with net proceeds going to charities that support the care of former and current soldiers and their families. For more photos, see Jonathan Evens’s Between blog, or the blog Colossal; they’re amazing. Also check out the “making of” video below.

Poppies outside the Tower of London

Photo © 2014 by Historic Royal Palaces


On the lighter side, read this tongue-in-cheek poem by Martyn Wendell Jones, made up entirely of lines from Focus on the Family’s Plugged In movie reviews! So funny.

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