Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

They, looking at Baptism as an act done in an instant, and accomplishing its purpose in an instance, and not rather as the witness of an eternal truth, the sacrament of constant union, the assurance of a continual living presence, are driven to this conclusion: that the moment after it has been performed is a period of ideal purity and excellence, from which the future life even of a saint is a deflection, and which those who have wandered far into sin cannot hope to recover. These must be content, by much prayer and fasting, to seek for God’s mercy, which may, perhaps, though there is no certain promise to uphold the flattering expectation, once again redeem them out of sin and hell... Where is the minister of Christ in London, Birmingham, or Manchester, whom such a doctrine, heartily and inwardly entertained, would not drive to madness? He is sent to preach the Gospel. What Gospel? Of all the thousands whom he addresses, he cannot venture to believe that there are two who, in Dr. Pusey’s sense, retain their baptismal purity. All he can do, therefore, is to tell wretched creatures, who spend eighteen hours out of the twenty-four in close factories and bitter toil, corrupting and being corrupted, that if they spend the remaining six in prayer—he need not add fasting—they may possibly be saved. How can we insult God and torment man with such mockery?
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Kingdom of Christ: or Hints on the principles..., letters, by a clergyman of the Church of England, 1837, p. 96 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Isa. 53:4-6; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:11-14,20-23; Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 4:1; more at Assurance, Authenticity, Baptism, Corruption, Fasting, Gospel, Promise, Purpose, Sacrament, Toil)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

[Forgiveness] recognises the wrongdoer as a person. He has done wrong, and about this there is no pretence. But that is not the whole truth about him. He is still of infinite value as a person, since every person is unique and irreplaceable by any other. Since he has so greatly injured himself by doing wrong, he is in special need of help, and help that can be rendered only by the one to whom he has done the wrong.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), A Genuinely Human Existence: Towards a Christian Psychology, Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1959, p. 210 (see the book; see also Luke 6:27-29; Matt. 6:14-15; Luke 6:37; Rom. 12:14,17-21; 2 Cor. 2:6-8; Eph. 4:32; 5:1-2; 1 John 2:1-2; more at Forgiveness, Infinite, People, Truth, Wrong)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prayer frees us to be controlled by God. To pray is to change. There is no greater liberating force in the Christian life than prayer. To enter the gaze of the Holy is never to be the same. To bathe in the Light in quiet wonder and glad surrender is to be slowly, permanently transformed. There is a richer inward orientation, a deep hunger for communion. We feel as if we are being taken over by a new control Center, and so we are.
... Richard J. Foster (b. 1942), Freedom of Simplicity, HarperCollins, 1989, p. 58 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:9; Rom. 8:14,26; Eph. 6:18; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 John 5:16; more at Communion, Gladness, Life, Light, Permanence, Prayer, Wonder)

Monday, April 4, 2011

God hath work to do in this world; and to desert it because of its difficulties and entanglements, is to cast off His authority... It is not enough that we be just, that we be righteous, and walk with God in holiness; but we must also serve our generation, as David did before he fell asleep. God hath a work to do; and not to help Him, is to oppose Him.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. IX, New York: R. Carter, 1851, Sermon XIII, p. 171 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:13; Gen. 6:9; Ps. 55:6; Jer. 9:2; 2 Pet. 3:11; more at God, Holiness, Obedience, Righteousness, Service, Work, World)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In conversion you are not attached primarily to an order, nor to an institution, nor a movement, nor a set of beliefs, nor a code of action—you are attached primarily to a Person, and secondarily to these other things... You are not called to get to heaven, to do good, or to be good—you are called to belong to Jesus Christ. The doing good, the being good, and the getting to heaven, are the by-products of that belonging. The center of conversion is the belonging of a person to a Person.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Conversion, New York: Abingdon Press, 1959, p. 244 (see the book; see also John 10:4; 8:47; Rom. 6:11; 8:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; more at Call, Christ, Conversion, Goodness, Heaven, Jesus)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

The offertory is the first essential action of the Liturgy, because in it we make the costly and solemn oblation, under tokens, of our very selves and all our substance; that they may be transformed, quickened, and devoted to the interests of God.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 29 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:1-2; Gen. 22:12; Matt. 5:23-24; 19:21; Heb. 13:15-16; more at Devotion, God, Self-sacrifice, Worship)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It is good to have some brief words of a Psalm, some thought of prayer, which thou mayest use at any moment of leisure. Ye would often have prayed, had ye known what to pray; while ye have been thinking what to pray, the time was gone.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), “Do all to the Lord Jesus” in Parochial Sermons, preached and printed on various occasions, London: Walter Smith, 1884, p. 92 (see the book; see also Col. 3:17; Ps. 4:8; 46:1-3; 51:10; 85:8; 122:1,6-7; more at Prayer, Scripture, Thought, Time)

Friday, April 8, 2011
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

If we are to rid ourselves of pseudo-religion and of an irreligion that is equally spurious, it must be done with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Our Lord bids His disciples pull out first the beam that is in their own eyes. Only then shall we be able to see clearly the tiny splinters which have gotten into the eyes of the poor whom we are called to serve.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 8 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42; Gal. 2:10; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; more at Disciple, God, Service, Sight, Spirit, Sword)

Saturday, April 9, 2011
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

When evil befalls you, it is not you who are in danger, but the others who do you evil; and if you don’t help them, they will perish in it. Therefore, for the others’ sake, and because of your responsibility to them—repay no one evil for evil. For has God ever repaid you in such a way?
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), A Testament to Freedom: the essential writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, eds., HarperCollins, 1995, p. 286 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:17; Matt. 5:7,39; Luke 6:36; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Danger, Evil, God, Responsibility)

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761
Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347
Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955

How many saints has adversity sent to Heaven? And how many poor sinners has prosperity plunged into everlasting misery? A man seems then to be in the most glorious state, when he has conquered, disgraced, and humbled his enemy; though it may be, that same conquest has saved his adversary and undone himself.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 396 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:10; Matt. 5:5; 20:16; 21:31; Mark 9:35; Luke 13:28-30; John 12:19-21; Rom. 9:30-33; more at Adversity, Glory, Heaven, Humility, Poverty, Prosperity, Saint, Sinner)

Monday, April 11, 2011
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

But what is worship? What ought to result from it? What is the point and peak and heart and centre of it? Is it the offering we bring to God of praise and adoration, of thanksgiving and sacrifice, our praise, our sacrifice to Him? That has its place, not legitimate only, but imperative. And yet to put that in the foreground is to make the service fundamentally man-centered and subjective, which, face to face with God, is surely almost unthinkably unseemly. Or is the ideal we should hold before us that other extreme, so ardently pressed on us these days, that, face to face with the Lord God Almighty, High and Holy, it is for us to forget ourselves and, leaving behind our petty little human joys and needs and sins, rising above thanksgiving and petition and confession, to lose ourselves in an awed adoration of God’s naked and essential being, blessing and praising Him, not even for what he has done for us, and been for us, but for what, in Himself, He is.
To me, that seems not an advance, but a pathetic throw-back to the primitive of Brahmanism. We shall not learn to know God better, nor how to worship Him more worthily, by careful rubbing out from memory every item of the wonder of Christ’s revelation of Him. [Continued tomorrow]
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 24 (see the book; see also John 14:7; Ps. 85:8; 96:8-9; Isa. 29:13; Gal. 5:24; Heb. 13:15-16; more at Christ, Forget, Offering, Praise, Revelation, Sacrifice, Thanksgiving, Worship)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[Continued from yesterday]
The redeemed in Heaven crying continually, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” give, say the scriptures, an adoration which, in depth and fullness, no angel of them all can ever equal.
Yet even then, we have not reached the centre. For when we worship, we are in God’s presence, and it is what He says and does to us that is the all-important thing, not what we say and do toward Him. Since He is here and speaking to us, face to face, it is for us, in a hush of spirit, to listen for, and to, His voice, reproving, counselling, encouraging, revealing His most blessed will for us; and, with diligence, to set about immediate obedience. This and this, upon which He has laid His hand, must go; and this and this to which He calls, must be at once begun. And here and now I start to it. That is the heart of worship, its very core and essence.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 24-25 (see the book; see also John 14:6,15-21; Pr. 3:27-28; John 4:23; Jas. 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Angel, Counsel, Diligence, Encouragement, Heaven, Listening, Obedience, Worship)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The holiness and spotlessness of the Church (Eph. 1:4; 5:27) are a gift and commission which God already has given, and is giving, to the assembled saints upon earth now. The Christians cannot make or call themselves holy. They would be ridiculous pretenders if they did. But they are called to acknowledge what “the word” does and says to them. By the word, they are purified... Despite all the counsel which the Ephesians needed concerning their worship, conduct, and testimony, they were actually God’s elect. They were commissioned and committed to be holy and spotless. They were entitled to believe and proclaim that God, despite all the sin and weakness of man, creates people called saints!
... Markus Barth (1915-1994), The Broken Wall, Chicago: Judson Press, 1959, Regent College Publishing, 1959, p. 106-107 (see the book; see also John 15:3; Rom. 4:3; Eph. 1:4-6,13-14;5:25-27; more at Call, Church, Counsel, Gifts, God, Holiness, Preach, Purity, Saint, Sin, Weakness, Worship)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Every time the disciples started establishing rules—no children near Jesus; don’t let the crowd touch Jesus; don’t talk to Samaritan women; don’t let people waste expensive perfumes—Jesus told them to knock it off, and his rebuke was usually followed by a lecture that said, “You still don’t get it! We’re not substituting religious rules with our rules. We are substituting religious rules with Me!” Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “follow My rules.” So most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus.
... Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Dangerous Wonder: the Adventure of Childlike Faith, Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1998, p. 53 (see the book; see also Mark 10:13-16; Matt. 15:22-28; 26:6-13; Luke 7:36-47; John 4:9; more at Disciple, Jesus, People, Rule)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our wills are not ours to be crushed and broken; they are ours to be trained and strengthened. Our affections are not ours to be blighted and crucified; they are ours to be deepened and purified. The rich opportunities of life are not held out to us only to be snatched away by an invisible hand patiently waiting for the hour when the cup is sweetest; they are given to us that we may grow, alike through their use or their withdrawal. They are real, they are sweet, and they are worthy of our longing for them; we gain nothing by calling them dross, or the world an illusion, or ourselves the victims of deception, or by exalting renunciation as the highest virtue. When these opportunities are denied us, it is a real, not an imaginary, loss which we sustain; and our part is not that of bare renunciation, of simple surrender; our part is to recognize the loss, to bear the pain, and to find a deeper and richer life in doing the will of God.
... Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916), The Life of the Spirit, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1901, p. 131 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:8; Gen. 1:31; Amos 5:15; John 7:18; Rom. 8:22-23; 12:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; more at Illusions, Obedience, Opportunity, Purity, Renunciation, Virtue, Will of God)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When we put our confidence in our human formulations regarding how God acts in the world, it’s easy to start thinking in terms of how we can be sure he’ll behave the way we need him to. Anything that hinders us from recognizing that God acts freely out of love for his creation is dangerous, pagan Christianity.
... Brandon O’Brien, in a Christianity Today editorial, Sept. 3, 2010 (see the book; see also Isa. 29:13; Hos. 1:9-10; Matt. 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-13; John 3:16-17; Rom. 9:15-18,22-24; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; more at Creation, Danger, God, Love, Pagan, Worldly)

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Palm Sunday

He who has surrendered himself to it knows that the Way ends on the Cross—even when it is leading him through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 91 (see the book; see also Luke 9:23-24; Mark 6:53-56; Luke 14:26-27; John 12:12-13; Rom. 8:13-14; Gal. 2:20; 5:24; more at Cross, Gospel, Jerusalem, Knowledge, Way)

Monday, April 18, 2011

To live thus—to cram today with eternity and not wait the next day—the Christian has learnt and continues to learn (for the Christian is always learning) from the Pattern. How did He manage to live without anxiety for the next day—He who from the first instant of His public life, when He stepped forward as a teacher, knew how His life would end, that the next day was His crucifixion; knew this while the people exultantly hailed Him as King (ah, bitter knowledge to have at precisely that moment!), knew, when they were crying, “Hosanna!”, at His entry into Jerusalem, that they would cry, “Crucify Him!”, and that it was to this end that He made His entry. He who bore every day the prodigious weight of this superhuman knowledge—how did He manage to live without anxiety for the next day?
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Christian Discourses, tr. Walter Lowrie, New York: Oxford University Press, 1961, p. 78 (see the book; see also Luke 12:22-23; Matt. 21:9; Mark 15:13-14; Luke 21:34-36; 23:21-24; more at Anxiety, Attitudes, Bearing, Bitterness, Crucifixion, Day, Life)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546) (see the book; see also Prov. 3:5-6; Matt. 6:19-21,33; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; more at Faith, God, Possession, Providence, Trust)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blow out your foolish lamps; here are two honest men,
A thief and a blasphemer; or, I think, a god,
On gallows-trees.
... Mary Madeleva (Mary Evaline Wolff) (1887-1964), Gates and other Poems, New York: Macmillan, 1938, p. 22 (see the book; see also Luke 23:39-43; Matt. 11:16-19; 26:65-66; Luke 7:31-35; 2 Cor. 1:9-11; more at God, Jesus, Man, Salvation)

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Maundy Thursday
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

Love’s as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing he had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and his.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Poems, ed., Walter Hooper, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 124 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-38; Luke 23:33; 1 Cor. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Cross, Jesus, Knowledge, Love, Sight)

Friday, April 22, 2011
Good Friday

Those who think God did this almost incredible thing call it Good Friday because only an extremely good God could do a thing like that. All religions attempt to bridge the gulf between the terrific purity of God and the sinfulness of man, but Christianity believes that God built that bridge Himself. This particular Friday commemorates His deliberate action in allowing Himself to be caught up in the sin-suffering-death mechanism which haunts mankind.
He didn’t let it end there, for He went on, right through death. But the men who believe in Him can’t forget the kind of Person such an act reveals. That’s why they call it Good Friday.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Is God at Home?, London: Lutterworth Press, 1957, p. 56 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:2-11; John 19:16-30; Rom. 6:2-10; 1 Cor. 15:17; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3; more at Easter, Good Friday, Man, Remembrance, Revelation, Sin, Suffer)

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Holy Saturday
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

Nails were not enough to hold God-and-man nailed and fastened on the Cross, had not love held Him there.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Saint Catherine of Siena as seen in her letters, J. M. Dent, 1906, p. 42 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-2; Matt. 27:35-50; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:13-14; Heb. 2:10; more at Cross, Easter, Love, Shame, Strength)

Sunday, April 24, 2011
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

Upon the Sepulchre of our Lord.
Here, where our Lord once laid his Head,
Now the grave lies burièd.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), from “Divine Epigrams”, The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 16 (see the book; see also Mark 16:1-7; Hos. 13:14; John 11:25-26; Rom. 6:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; more at Death & Resurrection, Jesus, Victory)

Monday, April 25, 2011
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

The way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before. If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now have refused it. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 47 (see the book; see also Rom. 9:30-33; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:20; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:3-5; more at Blessing, Christ, Righteousness, Salvation, Way, Wisdom, Wonder)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Preachers never tire of telling us that knowing about God is one thing and knowing God is another; but although these are distinct, it would be very odd if you could know God at all well without knowing quite a lot about him. After all, we know an ordinary friend better when we know something about that person’s history and character.
... Richard G. Swinburne (b. 1934), Philosophers Who Believe, Kelly James Clark, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993, p. 200 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 4:6; Isa. 66:2; Jer. 31:34; Matt. 7:7-8; 11:29; more at Friend, God, Knowing God, Knowledge, Preacher)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

A Better Resurrection
I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.
My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk;
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.
My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing,
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 62 (see the book; see also Ps. 143:11; 1 Cor. 3:15; Heb. 11:35; 12:29; more at Cup, Easter, Heart, Jesus, King, Life, Resurrection, Soul, Water)

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

Jesu, be endless praise to Thee,
Whose boundless mercy hath for me—
For me a full atonement made,
An everlasting ransom paid.
O let the dead now hear Thy voice;
Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;
Their beauty this, their glorious dress,
Jesu, Thy blood and righteousness.
... Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) & John Wesley (1703-1791), The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, v. I, Charles Wesley, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1868, p. 349 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Isa. 35:10; Matt. 20:26-28; Rom. 3:25-26; Tit. 3:4-7; Heb. 2:17; more at Atonement, Beauty, Blood, Death, Everlasting, Glory, Jesus, Mercy, Praise, Righteousness)

Friday, April 29, 2011
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

That the death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice was predicted by the law and the prophets is the constant doctrine of the New Testament.
... Charles Hodge (1797-1878), An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians [1857], New York: Robert Carter & Bros., 1860, p. 313 (see the book; see also Acts 13:26-27; Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44-45; John 1:45; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; more at Atonement, Bible, Christ, Death, Law, Prophet, Sacrifice)

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

The Church, rightly conceived, is the whole covenant people called to serve in the world. The clergy are also part of the laity, and their true function is to help equip the laity to be the Servant People. If they turn aside to rule and to secure their own status, they have betrayed the calling of the special ministry.
... Franklin H. Littell (1917-2009) (see also Luke 22:27; 12:35-36; John 13:14-15; 2 Cor. 4:3-5; Eph. 4:11-13; more at Call, Church, Minister, People, Service, World)


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