To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Monday, June 6, 2011

These Things We Know

On Saturday I went to a few yard sales and found a neat old book for a nickel. Notes For Living was written by Presbyterian  Pastor Raymond Irving Lindquist and published in 1968.  I've enjoyed several of the notes originally written for the two congregations he ministered to, one in New Jersey and the other in Hollywood California.
I thought I would share one essay in particular that resonated with me. On some level we all struggle with fear of the unknown. There are times when we'd rather cling to our known sin rather that venture into the unknown depths of His grace. There is a twisted sort of pseudo comfort in the familiar...even familiar sin...that can pull and draw us away from diving head long into what may be required if we forsake the pet sin that we stroke and care for so tenderly and yield so completely to what is known only to Him.
Maybe that makes no sense to you and maybe I'm alone in this weird battle between the known and unknown. But maybe you'll still enjoy what Pastor Lindquist had to say in "What Has God Told Us".
'Life is divided between the unknown and the known, between mystery and revelation, between puzzle and disclosure, between darkness and light. Too often we are tempted to ignore the known and revealed, disclosure and light, and to live in the land of the unknown and mysterious, in the territory of puzzle and darkness.
We do not have enough knowledge or self control to live serenely in the dark. Only God, to whom nothing is secret, can survive the ultimate mystery. Moses told his people, "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God..." We should leave such secret things with Him.
But Moses did not stop there. He went on to say, "but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." This is the place to live: in the clear light of what God has told us.
And what has God told us? He has said that He is alive and that the world is the scene of His creative and redemptive action, and that history is the garment of His grace. He has let us come to know Him. He is also letting us come to know ourselves...
But God not only lives. He loves. Love is His nature and love is His name. By night in a garden Jesus said to a ruler of the Jews, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." It is in His love demonstrated in Christ that God makes Himself most clearly known. Nature cannot tell us of this love. Mountains and trees may whisper His name as Creator, but only the Cross can speak right out and say that God loves us. When we accept His divine love we receive His divine life. When we come to the Cross, Christ comes to us.
The God who lives and loves is also the God who has put Himself in the position of becoming a loser for our sake. He lost in the beginning when original man, given the power of choice, chose to disobey....He lost at Calvary when men crucified Jesus. But out of this loss came history's most important victory---the victory of the Cross.
These things we know."
What is unknown for me is known to Him...what is loss and battle for me is gain and victory in Him.


Anonymous said...

Wow...what a statement. "We do not have enough knowledge or self control to live serenely in the dark." I'll be thinking about this post today for sure.