Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Palm Sunday
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

Whatever else is true, it is emphatically not true that the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth were suitable to his time, but are no longer suitable to our time. Exactly how suitable they were to his time is perhaps suggested in the end of his story.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), The Everlasting Man, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925, Wilder Publications, 2008, p. 123 (see the book; see also Mark 11:15-18; 1 Kings 22:8; Ps. 69:8-9; Isa. 56:6-7; Jer. 7:11; John 2:16; more at Jesus, Passion of Christ, Truth)

Monday, April 2, 2012

It is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation than to neglect it and work miracles.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xx..6, p. 61 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:21-23; Ex. 7:10-12; Deut. 13:1-4; Matt. 24:23-24; Acts 8:9-11,18-23; 2 Thess. 2:9-12; more at Man, Miracle, Neglect, Salvation)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,
Thou fount of life, thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), ascribed, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 248 (see the book; see also John 6:51; Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; more at Bread, Heart, Holiness, Jesus, Joy, Light, Love)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(When shall my fickle soul forget
The Agony of Bloody Sweat!)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palms red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.
... Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), Joyce Kilmer: Memoir and Poems, v. I, New York: George H. Doran Company, 1918, p. 109 (see the book; see also Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:22-32; Mark 15:12-20; more at Blood, Cross, Fickle, Heart, Man, Passion of Christ, Suffer)

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Maundy Thursday

And He answered them nothing.
Mighty Nothing! unto thee,
Nothing, we owe all things that be.
God spake once when He all things made,
He saved all when He Nothing said.
The world was made of Nothing then;
’Tis made by Nothing now again.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 22 (see the book; see also Matt. 27:12; Gen. 1:2-3; Acts 8:32-33; more at Affliction, Creation, God, Salvation, World)

Friday, April 6, 2012
Good Friday
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

I am much delighted and instructed by the hypothesis, which I think probable, that our Lord in repeating Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani, really recited the whole or a large part of the 22d Psalm. It is impossible to read that psalm without the liveliest feelings of love, gratitude, and sympathy. It is, indeed, a wonderful prophecy, whatever might or might not have been David’s notion when he composed it. Whether Christ did audibly repeat the whole or not, it is certain, I think, that he did it mentally, and said aloud what was sufficient to enable his followers to do the same. Even at this day to repeat in the same manner but the first line of a common hymn would be understood as a reference to the whole.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk, 2nd ed., London: John Murray, 1836, p. 81 fn (see the book; see also Ps. 22; Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; more at Gratitude, Instruction, Love, Passion of Christ, Prophecy, Scripture, Thought)

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Holy Saturday

Of all the beings other than Christ of whom the Gospel tells us, the good thief is by far the one I most envy.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Waiting for God, Emma Craufurd, tr., Putnam, 1951, p. 59 (see the book; see also Joel 2:32; Luke 23:39-43; Rom. 8:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:18; Gal. 2:19-20; Eph. 2:4-5; more at Envy, Gospel, Passion of Christ)

Sunday, April 8, 2012
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
... John Updike (1932-2009), from “Seven Stanzas at Easter”, in Telephone Poles and Other Poems, New York: A. Knopf, 1963, p. 72 (see the book; see also Acts 17:31; Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-17; 1 Cor. 15:12-14,17; more at Depravity, God, Religion)

Monday, April 9, 2012
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

Only the obedient believe. If we are to believe, we must obey a concrete command. Without this preliminary step of obedience, our faith will only be pious humbug, and lead us to the grace which is not costly. Everything depends on the first step. It has a unique quality of its own. The first step of obedience makes Peter leave his nets, and later get out of the ship; it calls upon the young man to leave his riches. Only this new existence, created through obedience, can make faith possible.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 64 (see the book; see also John 13:34-35; Matt. 16:24; 18:21-22; 19:21-22; Luke 6:32-36; more at Belief, Commandment, Dependence, Faith, Grace, Obedience, Wealth)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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

As the light of the sun has only one common nature towards all objects that can receive it, so God has only one common nature of goodness, towards all created nature, breaking forth in infinite flames of love, upon every part of the creation, and calling everything to the highest happiness it is capable of.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 156 (see the book; see also Ps. 100:5; 31:19; 33:5; 34:8; Isa. 63:7; Matt. 7:11; Luke 6:35; 1 John 4:8; more at God, Goodness, Happiness, Love, Nature)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

All miracles are simply feeble lights like beacons on our way to the port where shines the light, the total light of the resurrection. All miracles finally refer to this one and find their explanation in it. It is the miracle.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Judgment of Jonah, tr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1971, p. 65 (see the book; see also Rom. 4:23-25; Deut. 4:33-35; 29:3-6; Amos 4:6-11; Matt. 12:28; John 2:11; Acts 2:22; Rom. 1:4; 2 Cor. 13:4; 1 Thess. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 1:18; more at Light, Miracle, Resurrection)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The criteria [for distinguishing the spirits] which Paul therefore sets forth for the guidance of the Church, that it may know where the Holy Spirit works, and what spiritual phenomena are its gifts, are the first three: the constant recognition of Christ’s lordship in the individual life, the realisation of His love in the Church, and living His life in all moral relations. Where Christ reigns, where brothers serve one another in the order and unity of love, and where they live the high morality of Christ’s gospel, there, and nowhere else, the Spirit always dwells and works. These tests may still be subjective and indefinite, but they have the merit of measuring “spiritual things by spiritual things” (1 Cor. 2:13), and Paul refrained from attempting to delimit the action of the Spirit by any external and formal boundaries, whether of sacrament, order, or dogma.
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 90 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:22-25; Rom. 7:18; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 4:6; more at Christ, Church, Guidance, Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Love, Spirit, Unity, Work)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking into my heart, which is perhaps the best way of looking into other men’s, I know that the Savior I want is one of whom I can say with Thomas of old, “My Lord and my God.” It would not suffice for my need that He should be only an heroic brother, man divinely inspired. I owe Him my soul, He fills my whole spiritual horizon, I seek to lose myself in Him that I may find myself eternally in life and love divine.
... R. J. Campbell (1867-1956), The Call of Christ, London: Skeffington & Son, n.d. (before 1932) (see the book; see also Matt. 16:24-25; John 20:28-29; Rev. 19:9-10; more at God, Heart, Inspiration, Jesus, Life, Love, Man, Need, Savior)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

If ever we intend to take one step towards any agreement or unity, it must be by fixing this principle in the minds of all men,—that it is of no advantage to any man whatever church or way in Christian religion he be of, unless he personally believe the promises, and live in obedience unto all the precepts of Christ; and that for him who doth so, that it is a trampling of the whole gospel under foot to say that his salvation could be endangered by his not being of this or that church or way, especially considering how much of the world hath inmixed itself into all the known ways that are in it.
... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” [1664], in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312 (see the book; see also Heb.12:14; John 10:27,28; Tit. 2:1-13; more at Belief, Church, Culture, Gospel, Promise, Salvation, World)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Not that Jesus’s concept of Messiahship corresponded to Jewish expectations. His notion reflected his view of God’s eschatological kingdom, which he preached as a reality brought into being by his own ministry. He saw the kingdom as a new relationship between penitent sinners and God as their heavenly Father, a relationship achieved through commitment to himself as their sovereign Saviour; and he saw his lordship as based on his call to be God’s suffering servant, the innocent one who, having died for the others’ sins, is then vindicated by being restored to life.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), “Jesus Christ the Lord”, in The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 41 (see the book; see also Ps. 110:1; Isa. 53; Luke 8:1-2; John 18:36; Rom. 14:17-18; more at Death, Father, Jesus, Kingdom, Messiah, Sinner, Suffer)

Monday, April 16, 2012

As the Christian prays, he actually anticipates his own liberation from anxiety even when engulfed by it. Praying to God, he can no longer have it, nor be possessed by it.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), Church Dogmatics, v. IV, part 3 [1961], Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, p. 673 (see the book; see also Ps. 94:19; 55:22; Rom. 5:3; 12:12; 13:14; Phil. 2:12; 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Tit. 3:4-5; Jas. 5:11,13; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; more at Anxiety, God, Liberty, Prayer)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Obedience to Christ in his world demands that we take the Church seriously; to talk of being a Christian and a member of his body without a vital relationship to its expression in our local community is to talk theological nonsense and to lay oneself open to the dangers of heresy and schism.
... Ian P. M. Cundy (1945-2009), “The Church as Community”, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 38 (see the book; see also Heb. 10:25; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 11:18-19; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:3; 1 Pet. 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 3:14; Jude 1:19; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Community, Danger, Heresy, Obedience, Theology)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

God has declared to us His mystic rapture in His Marriage with Humanity in twice saying, “[This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased].” He expressly and repeatedly calls this marriage, and pronounces the marriage of Man and Woman to be its symbol. This is the burning heart of the Universe.
... Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), The Rod, the Root, and the Flower [1895], London: G. Bell and Sons, 1907, p. 212 (see the book; see also Eph. 5:25-27; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:17-18; more at God, Heart, Jesus, Marriage, Mystic, Universe)

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

That we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation to think of trifles and fooleries.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, First Conversation, p. 8 (see the book; see also Tit. 3:8-9; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7-10; Acts 17:27-28; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; Heb. 1:3; more at God, Neglect, Prayer)

Friday, April 20, 2012

For since perfection is altogether unattainable by us, so long as we are clothed with flesh, and the Law denounces death and judgment against all who have not yielded a perfect righteousness, there will always be ground to accuse and convict us unless the mercy of God interpose, and ever and anon absolve us by the constant remission of sins. Wherefore the statement which we set out is always true, if we are estimated by our own worthiness, in every thing that we think or devise, with all our studies and endeavors, we deserve death and destruction.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, p. 11 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:10; Eze. 18:24; Ps. 32:1; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; more at Death, God, Law, Mercy, Perfection, Righteousness, Sin)

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

Awake, I beseech thee, O my soul, and let the fire of a heavenly love be kindled in thy heart, and wisely consider the beauty which Thy Lord God hath bestowed upon thee, and in considering love it, and in loving do it reverence with the service of a holy conversation. For doth not He who maketh thee to abide in Him, and hath condescended to dwell in thee, clothe thee, cover thee, adorn thee with Himself?
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Devotions of Saint Anselm, Meditation I.iv (see the book; see also Isa. 61:10; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:26-27; more at Beauty, Fire, God, Heart, Love, Reverence, Service)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Suppose Christianity is not a religion at all but a way of life, a falling in love with God, and through Him, a falling in love with our fellows. Of course such a way is hard and costly, but it is also joyous and rewarding even in the here-and-now. People who follow that Way know beyond all possible argument that they are in harmony with the Purpose of God, that Christ is with them and in them as they set about His work in our disordered world.
If anyone thinks this is perilous and revolutionary teaching, so much the better. That is exactly what they thought of the teaching of Jesus Christ. The light He brought to bear upon human affairs is almost unbearably brilliant, but it is the light of Truth, and in that light human problems can be solved.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 26 (see the book; see also Matt. 5; 6; Luke 6:22-23; 15:10; John 16:33; 1 Thess. 5:16; more at Christ, God, Jesus, Knowing God, Life, Light, Love, Purpose, Religion, Truth, Way)

Monday, April 23, 2012
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

You are leaving port under sealed orders and in a troubled period.
You cannot know whither you are going or what you are to do.
But why not take the Pilot on board who knows the nature of your sealed orders from the outset,
and who will shape your entire voyage accordingly?
He knows the shoals and the sandbanks, the rocks and the reefs,
He will steer you safely into that celestial harbor where your anchor will be cast for eternity.
Let His mighty nail-pierced hands hold the wheel, and you will be safe.
... Peter Marshall (1902-1949), John Doe, Disciple: sermons for the young in spirit, McGraw-Hill, 1963, p. 37 (see the book; see also Ps. 32:8; Gen. 12:1; Ps. 23:2-3; 25:4-5,8; 107:30; 119:105; Isa. 42:16; 48:17-18; Matt. 8:24-27; John 10:3-4; 16:13; more at Eternity, Jesus, Knowledge, Safety, Voyage)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

To begin with, let me say in the plainest, simplest, strongest way that I can, that that dwelling of Christ in the believing heart is to be regarded as being a plain literal fact... It is not to be weakened down into any notion of participation in His likeness, sympathy with His character, submission to His influence, following His example, listening to His instruction, or the like. A dead Plato may so influence his followers, but that is not how a living Christ influences His disciples... God means and wishes that Christ may continuously dwell in our hearts.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), Christ in the Heart: and other sermons, Macmillan, 1887, p. 16-19 (see the book; see also John 6:53-56; Zech. 2:10-11; John 14:16-17,23; 17:22-23; Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 3:16-17; Col. 1:27; 1 John 4:4; Rev. 3:20; more at Christ, Christlikeness, Example, Heart, Influence, Instruction, Listening, Submission, Sympathy, Truth)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality, with all its difficulties, opportunities, and implications. The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 105 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:4; Hab. 2:4; Luke 12:22-32; 17:6; more at Faith, God, Purpose, Religion, Responsibility, Truth)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’ while really it is finding its place in him.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Screwtape Letters, Macmillan, 1944, p. 143 (see the book; see also Matt. 16:25-26; Deut. 8:10-14; Job 12:5; Hos. 13:6; Luke 21:34; Tit. 2:11-12; 1 John 2:15-17; more at Man, Prosperity, World)

Friday, April 27, 2012
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

“He died for me: what can I offer Him?
Toward Him swells incense of perpetual prayer:
His court wear crowns and aureoles round their hair:
His ministers are subtle Cherubim;
Ring within ring, white intense Seraphim
Leap like immortal lightnings through the air.
What shall I offer Him? defiled and bare,
My spirit broken and my brightness dim.”—
“Give Me thy youth.”—“I yield it to Thy rod,
As Thou didst give Thy prime of youth for me.”—
“Give Me thy life.”—“I give it breath by breath;
As Thou didst give Thy life so give I Thee.”—
“Give Me thy love.”—“So be it, my God, my God,
As Thou hast loved me even to bitter death.”
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Poems of Christina Rossetti, London: Macmillan, 1904, p. 57 (see the book; see also Rev. 5:8; Rom. 13:8; 1 Cor. 9:25; more at Death, Giving, Immortality, Life, Love, Prayer, Spirit, Youth)

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

It is true, terrors of conscience cast us down; and yet without terrors of conscience we cannot be raised up again.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 2, 1632, p. 166 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:15-16; Rom. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:3-5; Heb. 10:19-22; more at Affliction, Conscience, Redemption)

Sunday, April 29, 2012
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

The obedient man speaks words of peace all his life, and at his death receives that which was promised him at his death by his superior, that is to say, eternal life, the vision of peace, and of supreme and eternal tranquillity and rest, the inestimable good which no one can value or understand, for, being the infinite good, it cannot be understood by anything smaller than itself.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dialog of Catherine of Siena [1378], Treatise of Obedience, ix. (see the book; see also Luke 10:5-6; Ps. 85:8; Matt. 10:12-13; 11:28-30; John 14:27; more at Death, Eternal life, Goodness, Infinite, Life, Obedience, Peace, Rest, Tranquility, Vision)

Monday, April 30, 2012
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

Every word or matter ought to be accredited by the testimony of inspired Scripture. Nor ought anyone to dare to annul or add anything. For if everything which is not of faith is sin, as the Apostle says, and faith by hearing, and hearing by the word of God: everything outside inspired Scripture not being of faith is sin.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Moralia, xxvi. & lxxix. 22 (see also Mark 7:10-13; Matt. 5:18; 15:5-6; Rom. 14:23; 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22:18-19; more at Faith, Inspiration, Scripture, Sin)


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