It's not Blogtalk Friday, but I just feel like cruising the blogosphere this morning. Here's some of what I've found:
Greg Burnett, besides showing us a totally "aw shucks" picture of himself and his two daughters, provides the following quote from Evelyn Underhill:
So, too, all who are sensitive to beauty know the almost agonizing sense of revelation its sudden impact brings - the abrupt disclosure of the mountain summit, the wild cherry-tree in blossom, the crowning moment of a great concerto, witnessing to another beauty beyond sense. And again, any mature person looking back on her or her own past life will be forced to recognize factors in that life which cannot be attributed to heredity, environment, opportunity, personal initiative or mere chance. The contact that proved decisive, the path unexpectedly opened, the other path closed, the thing we felt compelled to say, the letter we felt compelled to write. It is as if a hidden directive power, personal, living, free, were working through circumstances and often against our intention or desire, pressing us in a certain direction, and moulding us to a certain design.
There's a lot of truth in all that, but as much as I admire it, I fear it too, because I know that it is not enough. That is, beauty is not enough, and the love of beauty is not enough, and even that sense of "a hidden directive power" is not enough. I look through a quotation like this--which I value a good deal, mind you--and I long for something more certain than these inklings, more specific than mystical feelings.
So I blog on. Marilynn Griffith
, who is wonderful, links to an article by David Crowder
. David Crowder is a Christian "recording artist," I gather. All I know is, he's written an awesome article. Here's an excerpt:
The real message, the thing that is scribbled barely legible, the thing that's always there, underlying, is—we need rescue.
Things aren't as they should be. When your eyes focus and this becomes visible, you can't tear your eyes from it. And you start to see that there are those all around us who wait in begging wonder. "What is wrong? I am here. I am here, and I need you to notice. At times I'm waving my arms above my head, screaming it. At times I am too frightened to move, but always I am here, and I want you to notice. And in the dark I am afraid. I lie with my hand on my chest waiting for the tapping to come. Things aren't as they should be. There are symptoms. You see it in my eyes. I have seen it in your eyes, too.
Yes, this is getting closer, isn't it. Putting these two things together, we have the awesome beauty of creation surrounding us, and the directing hand of God in our lives (Underhill), but in the midst of all this we have what my mother used to call "crying need." (Crowder) A lack that even beauty, even mystical knowledge, cannot assuage. So what are we to do? Crowder has more to say:
This is what God has done for us. He has come into our condition. He has come to bring us back. He has come and embraced us. He has come and covered us in Himself. Watch this Christ. Watch as He is accused of being a drunkard, of associating with tax collectors. Watch as He brings healing to the afflicted, love to prostitutes, forgiveness to sinners. Watch as He climbs the hill bearing His destruction on His back. Watch as blood and water flow. Watch as salvation comes to us all. Watch as glory ascends to come again. Watch and fall in love with a God who does not resolve, whose rescue is never-ending. Whose prayer is that you would be that rescue. Who sends you to be that rescue.
Yes, so now we're getting to the core of things. People need rescue. And the Golgotha drama is the story of God addressing that crying need. Somehow my rescue, and yours, is wrapped up in that bloody scene, that tragedy and triumph. My lifeline, and yours, is anchored on the Cross.
We move on now to Ragamuffin Diva
. Her cry is Luther's. "Jesus, I am yours. Save me." Diva, writes:
We like to think once we read that Jack T. Chick tract "This is Your Life" and it literally scared the hell out of us, or we read and actually understood the 4 spiritual laws, and God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and we prayed the prayer on the back, or we responded to the altar call, or we filled out the little card, we are saved. And saved is good, so let's just going on about the business of being His, and not deal with delicate matters like asking God to save us on a regular basis.
Because you see the world is not divided between those who do not know Jesus, and so need saving, and those who do know Him, and thus are confortably ensconced on the deck of the ship, sipping lemonade and admiring the sunset. No, we're all still in the water, in the churning sea, and some have grabbed onto the lifeline--they're "being saved"--while others haven't yet trusted the lifeline. All, you see, are crying, "Save me!" But only some are crying, with Luther, with Ragamuffin Diva, "Jesus, I am yours! Save me!"
Which leads me, finally, to The Upward Call
. She quotes a Puritan Prayer called "Paradoxes." Read on:
Oh changeless God,
Under the conviction of thy Spirit
I learn that the more I do, the worse I am,
the more I know, the less I know,
the more holiness I have, the more sinful I am,
the more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!
Oh Lord, I have a wild heart,
and cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man,
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer, by thinking I have
prayed enough and earnestly,
by knowing thou has saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be
an evangelical hypocrite,
who sins more safely because grace abounds,
who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood
who reasons that God cannot cast him into
hell, for he is saved,
who loves evangelical preaching, churches,
Christians, but lives unholily.
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding,
no desire for the Lord’s Day,
ever learning but never reaching the truth,
always at the gospel-well
but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
with nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of
decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily lessons learned,
and thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home
the water of grace
I could go on. I could go on and on, for the Christian blogosphere is a rich vein, but I'm running out of time. Check out Testimony and Truth
. She writes, "We fall down. We get up. We hold on. We release. But we must first understand what is truth. We must understand that it has nothing to do with how we feel, what we think, what others are doing or what seems to satisfy.
Struggle if you must, but press on. You are nearer to triumph than you think."