Thursday, December 21, 2006

Preparing for the Party


Mr. Gilbert Chesterton
requests the pleasure
Of humanity's company
to tea on Dec. 25th 1896.

Humanity Esq., The Earth, Cosmos E.
As some of you may already know, these famous words from GKC appeared in "the Notebook" and were quoted by Maisie Ward in her biography, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Some of us have made attempts at interpreting this "Cosmos E." term. The philosophers have consistently urged (even in their journal articles!) the Thomistic view that it is the initial of Ens - and thus is a Chestertonian shorthand for "the Cosmos that Is".

OK, then: all together, slam your fist on the table (don't crush the mouse!) and say (yes, in Latin if you insist):

"There is an IS!"

Whew, now that we've gotten them out of the way...

And, from the other side of the Universe, excuse me, I mean the University, the techhies with their lab coats full of bits and bytes, or smelling of DNA, have insisted that this is a pre-tech misprint for "E-Cosmos" - that is, the world of communication which AMBER built, where Gilbert is a force to be reckoned with - and which has lent its hyphenated prefix to mail, business, and other pre-technical nouns. They, of course, have their own cheers, uttered by none other than the Master Designer, who each morning says (as GKC noted) "Do it again" to the sun... (It does happen to be one of the official cheers of Chesterton University!)

Yes, yes; oh, very well, you may use recursion, as long as you don't forget your terminating condition...

"Do it again!"+

Oh, quite clever, and you kept it all on one line. I'm sure Father Michael (from The Ball and the Cross) would delight in that notation.

But. I have not brought up this invitation to perform a syntactic dissection, nor begin an inquiry into its philosophical ramifications. (I just wanted to see how many large words I could use in one sentence.)

And I could easily say that since we are all very busy just now, and even GKC is playing a game, I thought it might be time for a bit of game for us. So, here's an ACS Christmas Game for you to think about:
You have just received a very fancy envelope; you have opened it, and found an elegant embossed card, printed in gold bearing the above invitation - except that the date is THIS Christmas! The signature and enclosure gives you no room for doubt or speculation that the ACS is playing some kind of game. (hee hee)

For in the envelope is an itinerary with round-trip plane tickets and all travel arrangements for you to attend this party!

Question: What will you do to get ready? What will you bring? Who will you see, and what will you do there?

But I won't say it. For we've already received that invitation. We could be together - in fact, a Christmas is coming where we shall all be together and PARTY in the fullest sense of the term.

We ought to be preparing. That's the meaning of Advent. That's the fullest sense of that invitation, which has already been extended to us, and it comes from a far greater dwelling than Top Meadow.

For the One Who sent the invitation has kept the good wine until then. There might be some discussion (by the philosophers!) as to whether we will be celebrating a birthday or a wedding, but I for one won't be concerned that the wine might run out.

(And the nice thing about THAT party is we won't have to be worried about losing the return half of that "round trip" ticket. It's the outbound half we can't afford to lose.)

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