Monday, August 3, 2015

Taking it Easy

The sacred weeks, with unfelt pace,
    Hath borne us on from grace to grace.
John Keble

My father and I used to fell trees and buck them with a 5 two-man crosscut saw. (It now adorns one wall of our son Josh's patio.) Being young and energetic I tried to force the saw into the cut. Easy does it, my father would say. Let the saw do the work.

I think of Paul's words; "It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Easy does it. Let Him do the work.

C. S. Lewis explains the process this way: Put right out of your head the idea thatChristians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it outas a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They (the Gospel writers) mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you gradually turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity[1]

Turning us into a new little Christ, takes timeactually a lifetimebut God can begin the process right now. Sit at the feet of Jesus and His Apostles and take in what they have to say. Say your prayers. "Keep yourself in the love of God"[2] by reminding yourself all day long that you are His beloved child, resting in the assurance that he is gradually turning you permanently into a different sort of thing.[3]

Just go for walks,
live in peace,
let change come quietly and invisibly on the inside.[4]

Change comes to us quietly, invisibly, but inexorably. God will "complete" us in due time (Psalm 57:2).

Thou sayest, "Fit me, fashion me for Thee."  
Stretch forth thine empty hands, and be thou still;  
O restless soul, thou dost but hinder Me  
By valiant purpose and by steadfast will.  
Behold the summer flowers beneath the sun,  
In stillness his great glory they behold;  
And sweetly thus his mighty work is done,  
And resting in his gladness they unfold.  
So are the sweetness and the joy divine  
Thine, O beloved, and the work is Mine.[5]

The sweetness and the joy are ours; the work is His. Easy does it. There is no hurry. We will get there some day.

David Roper

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 191-192
[2] Jude 20,21
[3] Shouldnt we hunger and thirst for righteousness? you ask. I answer: Doesnt the desire for goodness come naturally? Even the worst of us longs to be better. An analogy comes to minda small child in Toys R Us, holding up his hands, reaching for a wondrous gift high on a shelf just beyond his reach, his eyes glittering with desire. His Father, sensing his desire, retrieves the gift and brings it down to him.
[4] Thomas Merton, Woods, Shore, Desert: A Notebook, May 1968, Santa Fe: University of New Mexico Press, 1982, p. 48
[5] Gerhard Ter Steegen

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