Christ, our Light

Quotations for November, 2006

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Feast of All Saints

What changed these very ordinary men (who were such cowards that they didn’t dare stand too near the cross in case they got involved) into heroes who would stop at nothing? A swindle? Hallucination? Spooky nonsense in a darkened room? Or Somebody quietly doing what He said He’d do—walk right through death?
What do YOU think?
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Is God at Home?, London: Lutterworth Press, 1957, p. 36 (see the book; see also Acts 4:31; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-22; Acts 4:19-20; more at Cowardice, Cross, Easter, Heroism, Holy Spirit, Resurrection)

Thursday, November 2, 2006
Feast of All Souls

Do you think that the work God gives us to do is never easy? Jesus says his yoke is easy, his burden is light. People sometimes refuse to do God’s work just because it is easy. This is, sometimes, because they cannot believe that easy work is his work; but there may be a very bad pride in it... Some again accept it with half a heart, and do it with half a hand. But, however easy any work may be, it cannot be well done without taking thought about it. And such people, instead of taking thought about their work, generally take thought about the morrow, in which no work can be done any more than in yesterday.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), The Seaboard Parish [1868], London: Strahan, 1873, p. 31 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:28-30; Ps. 119:103-104; Pr. 3:13-17; Mic. 6:8; John 16:33; 2 Cor. 4:17; 12:9-10; Gal. 5;1; Phil. 4:13; 1 John 5:3-4; more at Burden, Giving, God, Jesus, Obedience, Thought, Work)

Friday, November 3, 2006
Feast of Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher, 1600
Commemoration of Martin of Porres, Dominican Friar, 1639

The Judaism [in which Paul had grown up] had become largely traditional: the word of the Lord, the Rabbis held, came to the prophets of old, but we can only preserve and interpret the truth they handed down. Jesus Christ, with a confidence that to the timid traditionalism of His time appeared blasphemous, asserted that He knew the Father and was prepared to let others into that knowledge. He did so, not by handing down a new tradition about God, but by making others sharers in His own attitude to God. This is what Paul means by “having the mind of Christ.” It was this clear, unquestioning conviction that gave Paul his power as a missionary: but he expected it also in his converts. To them too “the word of knowledge” came “by the same Spirit.” He prayed that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Such knowledge is, as Paul freely grants, only partial, but, so far as it goes, it is real, personal knowledge. In friendship between men there is a mutual knowledge which is never complete or free from mystery: yet you can know with a certainty nothing could shake, that your friend is “not the man to do such a thing,” or that such-and-such a thing that you have heard is “just like him.” You have a real knowledge which gives you a criterion. Such is the knowledge the Christian has of his Father.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 131-132 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 8:1-3; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Gal. 4:9; Eph. 1:17; Phil. 1:9-10; 2:5; Col. 2:2-3; 1 Thess. 1:5; more at Conviction, Friend, Jesus, Knowledge, Missionary, Power, Tradition)

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Ability of speech in time and season is an especial gift of God, and that eminently with respect unto the spiritual things of the Gospel; but a profluency of speech, venting itself on all occasions and on no occasions, making men open their mouths wide when indeed they should shut them and open their ears, and to pour out all that they know and what they do not know, making them angry if they are not heard and impatient if they are contradicted, is an unconquerable fortification against all true spiritual wisdom.
... John Owen (1616-1683), A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. VI-IX [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. IV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 459 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:19-20; Mark 12:36; Luke 21:14-15; 2 Tim. 4:17; Jas. 1:26; 3:5-10; 1 Pet. 3:10; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Apologetics, Gifts, Gospel, Knowledge, Preach, Truth, Wisdom)

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The self-sins... dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins, egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion, are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the Church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 42 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Matt. 7:15; 23:27-28; Rom. 2:17-24; 1 Cor. 10:32-33; Gal. 6:3; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Authenticity, Church, Leader, Pride, Self, Self-righteousness, Sin, Tolerance)

Monday, November 6, 2006
Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944

There is no hope of establishing a more Christian social order except through the labour and sacrifice of those in whom the Spirit of Christ is active.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Christianity and Social Order, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1942, p. 100 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:8-9; Ps. 18:49; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 3:10-11; 6:12-13; Tit. 3:1-2; more at Christ, Holy Spirit, Hope, Labor, Sacrifice, Social)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Feast of Willibrord of York, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia, 739

Whoso goes seeking God and seeking aught with God does not find God; but he who seeks God by himself in truth does not find God alone: all God affords he finds, as well as God. Art thou looking for God, seeking God with a view to thy personal good, thy personal profit? Then in truth thou art not seeking God.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 42 (see the book; see also Luke 12:28-31; Matt. 6:30-34; 7:7; Luke 11:9; John 6:27; Acts 17:27; more at Attitudes, God, Selfish, Truth)

Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England

The one supreme, unchangeable rule of love, which is a law to all intelligent beings of all worlds, and will be a law to all eternity is this, viz., that God alone is to be loved for himself, and all other beings only in him and for him. Whatever intelligent creature lives not under this rule of love, is so far fallen from the order of his creation, and is, till he returns to his eternal law of love, an apostate from God, and incapable of the kingdom of heaven.
Now if God alone is to be loved for himself, then no creature is to be loved for itself; and so all self-love in every creature is absolutely condemned.
And if all created beings are only to be loved in and for God, then my neighbour is to be loved, as I love myself, and I am only to love myself, as I love my neighbour, or any other created being, that is, only in and for God.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer [1749], London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 74 (see the book; see also Matt. 22:37-39; Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 30:6; Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:29-33; Luke 10:27; 1 John 5:2-5; more at Condemnation, Creation, Eternity, Kingdom, Love, Rule, Self)

Thursday, November 9, 2006
Commemoration of Margery Kempe, Mystic, after 1433

That crowd of Jews would have followed Christ at that moment because He was giving them what they wanted [bread], and they wished to use Him for their plans and dreams and purposes. That attitude to Christ still lingers in men’s minds. We would like Christ’s gifts without Christ’s Cross; we would like to use Christ instead of allowing Him to use us.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 210 (see the book; see also John 6:14-15; Matt. 20:21-22; Mark 10:35-38; Luke 22:24-26; John 7:3-6; Rom. 12:10; more at Attitudes, Authenticity, Bread, Christ, Cross, Crowd, Gifts, Giving, Purpose)

Friday, November 10, 2006
Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461

If we would put some slight stress on ourselves at the beginning, then afterwards we should be able to do all things with ease and joy.
It is a hard thing to break through habit, and a yet harder thing to go contrary to our own will. Yet, if thou overcome not slight and easy obstacles, how shalt thou overcome greater ones? Withstand thy will at the beginning, and unlearn an evil habit, lest it lead thee little by little into worse difficulties. Oh, if thou knewest what peace to thyself thy holy life should bring, and what joy to others, methinketh thou wouldst be more zealous for spiritual profit.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xi.5, p. 45-46 (see the book; see also John 8:31-32; 1 Sam. 12:14; Matt. 24:12-13; John 15:4-8; Rom. 2:7; 1 Thess. 3:12-13; more at Holiness, Joy, Life, Obedience, Peace, Zeal)

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Feast of Martin, Monk, Bishop of Tours, 397

People naturally do not shout it out, least of all into the ears of us ministers. But let us not be deceived by their silence. Blood and tears, deepest despair and highest hope, a passionate longing to lay hold of ... Him who overcomes the world because He is its Creator and Redeemer, its beginning and ending and Lord, a passionate longing to have the word spoken, the word which promises grace in judgment, life in death, and the beyond in the here and now, God’s word—this it is that animates our church-goers.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Word of God and the Word of Man, Harper, 1957, p. 108 (see the book; see also John 1:17; 14:6; Rom. 5:20-21; 6:14; 15:8-12; 2 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 10:3-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Blood, Church, Death, Despair, God, Grace, Judgment, Life, Longing, Minister, Promise, Redemption)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A vocation to marriage is a vocation to glorify God in a particular state with its necessary rights and duties. It can only be combined with the vocation of a pioneer missionary of the classic type if matrimony is felt to be spiritually neutral, irrelevant to God’s calling. Marriage can be irrelevant only if we believe that the body, matter, is neutral, irrelevant, or evil. Man can not believe that and believe the Christian faith. God made matter, and was incarnate in it: the comparison of the relation of husband and wife to that between Christ and the Church naturally follows. But this conclusion is not always drawn, for orthodox Christians are often prone to speak and behave as if the Word... became not flesh but spirit.
... David M. Paton (1913-1992), Christian Missions and the Judgment of God, London: SCM Press, 1953, p. 45-46 (see the book; see also John 1:14; Isa. 7:14; Rom. 9:5; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 4:2-3; more at Belief, Call, Christ, Church, God, Husband and wife, Incarnation, Marriage, Mission, Spirit)

Monday, November 13, 2006
Feast of Charles Simeon, Pastor, Teacher, 1836

Let no one suppose, that we may attain to this true light and perfect knowledge, or life of Christ, by much questioning, or by hearsay, or by reading and study, nor yet by high skill and great learning. Yea, so long as a man taketh account of anything which is this or that, whether it be himself, or any other creature; or doeth anything, or frameth a purpose, for the sake of his own likings or desires, or opinions, or ends, he cometh not unto the life of Christ.
... Theologia Germanica [1518], Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XIX (see the book; see also Eccl. 12:12-13; Isa. 41:9; Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:9; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 19:9; more at Attitudes, Authenticity, Christ, Knowledge, Light, Perfection, Purpose, Truth)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Commemoration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1796

If one thing is clear as soon as the Church becomes serious about its missionary and ministerial calling for the world, it is that two difficult roads in particular have to be trodden: first, the road towards overcoming the scantiness of its knowledge of the world of today, and its ignoring of what really goes on in the world under its surface; secondly, the road towards reforming its spirit, atmosphere, and inherited structure, in so far as they give no room for new vitality.
... What can and must be said and resaid, with all gratitude for what in many places is already happening, is that a fearless scrutiny and revision of structure is one of the most urgent aspects of a renewal of the Church.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 177 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:16; Isa. 42:9; Luke 10:3; 1 Cor. 14:20; Eph. 5:15-17; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22; Rev. 21:5; more at Church, Mission, Missionary, Reform, Renewal, World)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Commemoration of Oswald Chambers, spiritual writer, 1917

If people gathered to a political meeting, and the chief speaker spoke to them only for some quarter of an hour, they would be annoyed, would feel with some resentment that he had not taken them seriously, had dealt much too cavalierly with the question of the hour... But the things of the soul are far more momentous, and to be asked to deal with huge, unfathomable facts like the Cross in a few minutes, means that people are not really interested in these things. This is, of course, a snippety age, with a snippety press, and snippety novels. But must we preachers follow and be snippety, too?
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In Christ’s Stead, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1925, p. 201-202 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:6-8; Ps. 78:1-3; Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Tim. 4:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Church, Cross, People, Preacher, Question, Soul)

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Feast of Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093
Commemoration of Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240

As a man increases in moral strength of character, so his conscience becomes more sensitive; he realises more keenly the distance that separates him from the ideal, and hence the weight of the feeling of guiltiness oppresses him ever more heavily. Growth in goodness does not, therefore, necessarily imply increased happiness; on the contrary, it may mean greater unhappiness. And his unhappiness increasing in proportion to the elevation of his ethical standard, a man’s end is either Buddha or suicide if he knows no God; while if he knows God, it is despair or that conversion which, having sobbed away its tears on the Father’s breast, thence derives ever new strength to fight the battle of life, sure of the final victory.
... Heinrich Weinel (1874-1936), St. Paul, the Man and His Work, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906, p. 92-93 (see the book; see also Ps. 42:11; Isa. 58:1; Luke 24:47; John 3:16-17; Acts 2:38; 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9; more at Apologetics, Battle, Conscience, Conversion, Despair, Goodness, Growth, Guilt, Happiness, Ideal, Knowing God, Victory)

Friday, November 17, 2006
Feast of Hugh, Carthusian Monk, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200

It is of great importance that you endeavour, at all times, to keep your hearts in peace; that you may keep pure that temple of God. The way to keep it in peace is to enter into it by means of inward silence. When you see yourself more sharply assaulted, retreat into that region of peace; and you will find a fortress that will enable you to triumph over all your enemies, visible and invisible, and over all their snares and temptations. Within your own soul resides divine aid, and sovereign succour. Retreat within it, and all will be quiet, secure, peaceable, and calm. Thus, by means of mental silence, which can only be attained with divine help, you may look for tranquillity in tumult: solitude in company; light in darkness; forgetfulness in pressures: vigour in despondency; courage in fear; resistance in temptation; and quiet in tribulation.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Mme. Guyon (1648-1717), William Backhouse (1779/80-1844) & James Jansen (1784-1821), A Guide to True Peace [1813], Pendle Hill by Harper & Brothers, 1946, p. 47-48 (see the book; see also Isa. 40:31; Ps. 46:10; 103:2-5; Hab. 2:20; Zech. 2:13; 2 Cor. 4:16; 12:9-10; more at Calm, Enemy, Light, Peace, Prayer, Security, Silence, Temptation, Tranquility)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.
And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper’s house
With the scent of costliest nard.
Ah! happy they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?
... Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), from The Ballad of Reading Gaol [1898], in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, v. IV, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 215 (see the book; see also Isa. 57:15; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; 147:3; Matt. 5:3,8; Rev. 3:20; more at Christ, Everlasting, Forgiveness, God, Heart, Kindness, Law, Man, Sin, Weep)

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Commemoration of Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, Philanthropist, 1231
Commemoration of Mechtild, Bèguine of Magdeburg, Mystic, Prophet, 1280

If He hath promised to make us happy, though He hath not particularly declared to us wherein this happiness shall consist; yet we may trust Him that made us to find out ways to make us happy; and may believe, that He who made us, without our knowledge or desire is able to make us happy beyond them both.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IV, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXVIII, p. 465 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:4-7; Isa. 57:1-2; Matt. 5:12; Luke 6:23; Acts 5:41; 2 Cor. 4:17; 5:8; Phil. 1:21; Rev. 14:13; more at Attitudes, Belief, Happiness, Knowledge, Promise)

Monday, November 20, 2006
Feast of Edmund of the East Angles, Martyr, 870
Commemoration of Priscilla Lydia Sellon, a Restorer of the Religious Life in the Church of England, 1876

Living for others, commitment to God’s redeeming purposes, is a means of grace. We give because of our faith, and our faith deepens as we give. If we permit ourselves and our people to give casually, we are really teaching contempt.
... Richard S. Emrich (1910-1997), “Stewardship,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 170 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 8:12-15; Matt. 6:1-4; Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9:6; more at Contempt, Faith, Giving, Grace, Obedience, Redemption, Teach, Unselfish)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The old pagans had to choose between a brilliant, jangling, irresponsible, chaotic universe, alive with lawless powers, and the serene and ordered universe of God and law. We modern pagans have to choose between that divine order, and the gray, dead, irresponsible, chaotic universe of atheism. And the tragedy is that we may make that choice without knowing it—not by clear conviction but by vague drifting, not by denying God, but by losing interest in Him.
A nominal deist will say: “Yes, of course there must be some sort of Force that created the galaxy. But it’s childish to imagine that It has any personal relation to me!” In that belief atheism exists as an undiagnosed disease. The man who says, “One God,” and does not care, is an atheist in his heart. The man who speaks of God and will not recognize the presence of God burning in his mind as Moses recognized him in the burning bush—that man is an atheist, though he speak with the tongues of men or angels, and appear in his pew every Sunday, and make large contributions to the church.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 23 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:19-20; Ex. 3:2-4; Ps. 14:1; 19:1-6; Isa. 40:26; Jer. 10:10-11; John 1:9; Acts 14:16-17; 1 John 2:22-23; more at Atheism, Authenticity, Belief, Church, Lawless, Pagan, Sunday, Universe)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Commemoration of Cecilia, Martyr at Rome, c.230
Commemoration of Clive Staples Lewis, Spiritual Writer, 1963

I too had noticed that our prayers for others flow more easily than those we offer on our own behalf. And it would be nice to accept your view that this just shows we are made to live by charity. I’m afraid, however, I detect two much less attractive reasons for the ease of my own intercessory prayers. One is that I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see him. And the other is like unto it. Suppose I pray that you may be given grace to withstand your besetting sin (short list of candidates for this post will be forwarded on demand). Well, all the work has to be done by God and you. If I pray against my own besetting sin there will be work for me. One sometimes fights shy of admitting an act to be a sin for this very reason.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 65 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Eph. 1:15-19; 3:14-19; Phil. 1:4-5,9-10; Col. 1:9; 4:12; 1 Thess. 3:12-13; Phlmn. 1:4-6; Jas. 5:16; more at Action, Charity, Intercession, Prayer, Sin)

Thursday, November 23, 2006
Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100
Thanksgiving (U.S.)

It is God Himself, personally present and redeemingly active, who comes to meet men in this Man of Nazareth. Jesus is more than a religious genius, such as George Fox, and more than a holy man, such as the lovable Lama in Kipling’s Kim. He himself knows that he is more... The Gospel story is a tree rooted in the familiar soil of time and sense; but its roots go down into the Abyss and its branches fill the Heavens; given to us in terms of a country in the Eastern Mediterranean no bigger than Wales, during the Roman Principate of Tiberius Caesar in the first century of our era, its range is universal; it is on the scale of eternity. God’s presence and his very Self were made manifest in the words and works of this Man. In short, the Man Christ Jesus has the decisive place in man’s ageless relationship with God.
He is what God means by ‘Man’. He is what man means by ‘God’.
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, pp. 101,104 (see the book; see also Matt. 3:13-17; Isa. 9:6; Mic. 5:2; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:1-2,32; 8:56-58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 13:8; more at Eternity, God, Gospel, Jesus, Man, Time)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sinlessness is a bloodless category, making an anemic savior. What matters is the reality of [Jesus’] struggles, that he was in all things like us, and that victory is possible with God and is indeed a reality in Jesus’ life as a “fragment of the future,” to use Cairns’s phrase. We, too, can find Christ in us. We, too, can find the new level of the Spirit and walk in its law, which is life and peace. That does not mean that we shall have serene and steady experiences of God. It may mean, humanly speaking, tremendous failures, struggles, and tensions. When, however, we constantly abandon all faith in ourselves and welcome God’s power and purpose in us, when we identify ourselves not with the sin which dwells and works in us, but with the living power of God, then the world can see that Christ still works and that the Holy Spirit still speaks with demonstration of power. For even as Christ had to fulfill the human life of Jesus, the life of self-drive and altruism which was lived under the Spirit of God—a fulfillment which yet made Jesus a truly integrated person—even so the same Christ must fulfill our lives.
... Nels F. S. Ferré (1908-1971), The Christian Understanding of God, New York: Harper, 1951, p. 201 (see the book; see also Heb. 4:15; 2:10;; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Life, Savior, Sin, Struggle, Victory)

Saturday, November 25, 2006
Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century

Here [Mark 11:27-33] they discerned a flaw, a heresy; and they would force Him either to make a fatal claim, or else to moderate His pretensions at their bidding, which would promptly restore their lost influence and leadership.
Nor need we shrink from confessing that our Lord was justly open to such reproach, unless He was indeed Divine, unless He was deliberately preparing His followers for that astonishing revelation, soon to come, which threw the Church upon her knees in adoration of her God manifest in flesh.
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), The Gospel According to St. Mark, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, p. 131 (see the book; see also Mark 11:27-33; Matt. 23:21-27; 26:3-4; Luke 20:1-8; 20:40; 22:2; John 5:18; 7:1; more at Church, God, Heresy, Jesus, Revelation)

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748

“They shall return unto me with their whole heart.” “Ye shall search for me with all your heart.” He makes a direct call to us for single-mindedness: a single-minded longing for Him—no lesser aim will do; no desire to be good, no striving to measure up to some standard we have set for ourselves, to correct some failure we have been shown in our way of life. These may be temporarily necessary but they will turn to dust and ashes—they will end in a grim dryness—unless at the back of them all is what He asks of us—a never-ending search for a real knowledge of Him, for a sense of His reality, a confidence in His companionship, a joy and delight in the very person of God Himself. It is for this that we must learn to long and long, till our prayers for it become not just a form of words, but a stretching out of our whole being to Him.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 31 (see the book; see also Jer. 24:7; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 29:13; 31:33-34; Eze. 11:19-20; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 6:33; Jas. 1:5-8; 4:8; more at Call, Heart, Longing, Prayer, Search)

Monday, November 27, 2006

When He fashioned man, the Deity breathed into the human form the divine life, “and man became a living soul.” Man is created to be a witness and likeness of God. God and man are so near to one another that it was possible for the Eternal Word to become Man without ceasing to be God, to re-ascend to the Highest without dehumanizing the Manhood which He had assumed; so near that the believer may say in the fullest meaning of the words, “I live, yet not I, but Christ.”
... David M. M’Intyre (1859-1938), Faith’s Title Deeds, London: Morgan & Scott, 1924, p. 20 (see the book; see also Gen. 2:7; 1:26-27; John 1:1-14; Gal. 2:20; more at God, Jesus, Life, Man, Soul, Witness)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Beautiful sanctuaries, paved parking lots, and new liturgies will do very little for people who sit in worship with their fingers crossed and do not really believe the faith which is expounded. Often the layman dismisses what the preacher says as something irrelevant to his situation and generation. When he joins a group where he is no longer afraid to be frank, the supposedly faithful member often admits that he has never really accepted what he thinks he has heard. He has, for example, grave reservations about the idea of creation. Did not the world evolve of itself? Do we really need the hypothesis of Infinite Purpose to make sense of the physical, biological, and psychological development? These questions seldom come to the surface when the Church provides merely a one-way preaching. There is little chance of renewal if all that we have is the arrangement by which one speaks and the others listen. One trouble with this conventional system is that the speaker never knows what the unanswered questions are, or what reservations remain in the layman’s mentality.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 61 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:1-3; Eze. 34:4; Matt. 20:25-26; 23:8-10; Mark 10:42-45; Luke 22:25-27; 1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 4:5; more at Authenticity, Beauty, Belief, Church, Faith, Listening, Preach, Preacher, Question, Sanctuary, Worship)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If man is not made for God, why is he only happy in God? If man is made for God, why is he so opposed to God?
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #438, p. 150 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:26-27; Matt. 10:22; Acts 17:23; Rom. 1:20-24; more at Apostasy, Attitudes, God, Happiness, Man, Sin)

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Feast of Andrew the Apostle

Devotion is the real spiritual sweetness which takes away all bitterness from mortifications, and prevents consolations from disagreeing with the soul; it cures the poor of sadness, and the rich of presumption; it keeps the oppressed from feeling desolate, and the prosperous from insolence; it averts sadness from the lonely, and dissipation from social life; it is as warmth in winter and refreshing dew in summer; it knows how to abound and how to suffer want, how to profit alike by honour and by contempt; it accepts gladness and sadness with an even mind, and fills men’s hearts with a wondrous sweetness.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, I.ii, p. 6 (see the book; see also Ps. 73:25-26; Rom. 5:5; 14:7-8; 1 John 4:12; 5:3-4; more at Devotion, Gladness, Heart, Loneliness, Man, Poverty, Prayer, Sadness, Social, Spiritual life)


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