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The Great Companion


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Questions deserve a few answers ...


"Bridge Over Troubled Waters"


Simon and Garfunkle


When you're weary, feelin' small

When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.

I'm on your side, Oh, when times get rough

And friends just can't be found.

Like a bridge over troubled waters

I will lay me down.

Like a bridge over troubled waters

I will lay me down.

When you're down and out, when you're on the street

When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you.

I'll take your part, Oh when darkness comes

And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled waters

I will lay me down.

Like a bridge over troubled waters

I will lay me down.

Sail on children, sail on by

Your time has come to shine, all their dreams are on their way

See how they shine, Oh when you need a friend

I'm sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled waters

I will ease your mind

Like a bridge over troubled waters,

I will ease your mind.

I'll ease your mind.

Edited by minsocal
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The phrase great companion is a helpful alternative to God the Father, patriarch as A.N. Whitehead wrote at the end of Process and Reality - God is the great companion - the fellow-sufferer who understands. And elsewhere, I affirm that God does suffer as he participates in the ongoing life of the society of being. His sharing in the worlds suffering is the supreme instance of knowing, accepting, and transforming in love the suffering which arises in the world. I am affirming the divine sensitivity.


Earlier, a book titled The Great Companion was published by Lyman Abbott in 1904, after William Clifford, 19th c. British physicist and atheist wrote we have felt with utter loneliness that the Great Companion is dead. Abbotts response: It is because I believe that God is the Great Companion, that we are not left orphans, that we may have comradeship with him, that I have written these pages. Whether we know it or not, we are all in a quest after the Great Companion.

Edited by rivanna
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Yes, the title of the thread came from Whitehead. When I posted this topic I was reading Process and Reality and listening to this song in the background. It brought tears to my eyes.


Thank you for the connection to Abbot. Whitehead was also British and could easitly have been aware the exchange. In fact, I think it quite probable.




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Note the phrases that parallel the song ...


Psalm 139 (New Revised Standard Version)


"1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.


2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.


3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.


4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.


5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.


6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.


7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?


8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.


9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,


10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.


11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,"


12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.


13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.


14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.


15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.


16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.


17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!


18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you. "

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I had never thought to compare it to a specfic scriptural passage, like this Psalm, but would definitely agree that this sense of awareness, that I am never really alone, of a presence of a great companion, is very much a core component of my personal faith.


To me, in the painful and difficult times, that has allowed me to maintain a constant hold on that faith, not asking why He let something bad happen, to me or others, but recognizing what happens is just part of our existence here, and to find comfort and strength instead in that trust, that awareness of His presence with me, whatever comes, whatever this world places upon me to bear, He is going to be with me every step of the way, even if the outcome were to be my death, He would still be there, holding my hand, to guide me beyond this life.


Does He ever intervene? From my own personal experiences, I have to say that yes, sometimes He does. It's most often been either when I least expect it, or in the flash of fractions of seconds in which a potential disaster is unfolding, sometimes both. Some of those occasions would have to be called miracles, but most often, I am the only one that experienced or witnessed them, and any effort I might make to tell others of them, I must temper with the fact that for that other person, what I'm tellingthem might only be a made-up story. But I've come to trust that even when He doesn't intervene, He is there even still, holding onto me to help me get through.


At times I've tried to explain that to someone, and have them ask, "but how do you know He's really there?" And all I can think to respond with is, "How do I know you are really there, and how do you know I am really here?"



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Yet another view:



The New Colossus

"Not like

the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883"




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