Mostly stuff on Christianity by an Anglican priest who reads a lot of C. S. Lewis. Please note: all my posts about Lewis' book How To Pray are on the site, under Social Media/blog.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Frames of Mind

From an old post:
C. S. Lewis to Walter Hooper, 30 Nov., 1954: "We should, I believe, distrust states of mind which turn our attention upon ourselves."

Friday, January 17, 2020

Gospel Morality Preached by the Apostles

To teach the standards of moral conduct that adorn the gospel and insist that our hearers heed them is neither legalism nor pharisaism but plain apostolic Christianity.”
Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, p. 35

And what is gospel morality?  We could answer from, say, the apostle Paul’s letter to Ephesus, where he speaks of what we have been taught by the gospel, contra to the old way we used to live.  But, seeing that the apostles’ teaching was based on the teaching of our Lord, we need to ask, “What morality did Jesus teach?”

The answer to that question is simple: the very same morality he taught on Mt. Sinai to Moses: keep the law, which is summarized in the words, “Love God and love your neighbour.”  This is why Paul tells us in Romans that the Spirit has been given to us so that the righteousness of the law - which we had avoided and broken - might be fulfilled in us.

Jesus was not a legalistic or a Pharisee.  He came to save us from our sins, viz. our transgression.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  But one main reason, per Ephesians 1, is simply that he loves us.  It’s all about love.  Any doctrine that is against the law of God is all about hate.  It ends in death.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Through A Glass, Darkly - Gen. G. S. Patton, Jr

For my fellow fans of Gen. George S. Patton (and Scott's portrayal as well)

Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.

In the form of many people
In all panoplies of time
Have I seen the luring vision
Of the Victory Maid, sublime.

I have battled for fresh mammoth,
I have warred for pastures new,
I have listed to the whispers
When the race trek instinct grew.

I have sinned and I have suffered,
Played the hero and the knave;
Fought for belly, shame or country,
And for each have found a grave.

I cannot name my battles
For the visions are not clear,
Yet, I see the twisted faces
And I feel the rending spear.

Perhaps I stabbed our Saviour
In His sacred helpless side.
Yet, I've called His name in blessing
When after times I died.

In the dimness of the shadows
Where we hairy heathens warred,
I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
We used teeth before the sword.

While in later clearer vision
I can sense the coppery sweat,
Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery
When our phalanx, Cyrus met.

Hear the rattle of the harness
Where the Persian darts bounced clear,
See their chariots wheel in panic
From the Hoplite's leveled spear.

See the goal grow monthly longer,
Reaching for the walls of Tyre.
Hear the crash of tons of granite,
Smell the quenchless eastern fire.

Still more clearly as a Roman,
Can I see the legion close,
As our third rank moved in forward
And the short sword found our foes.

Once again I feel the anguish
Of that blistering treeless plain
When the Parthian showered death bolts,
And our discipline was in vain.

I remember all the suffering
Of those arrows in my neck.
Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage
As I died upon my back.

Once again I smell the heat sparks
When my Flemish plate gave way
And the lance ripped through my entrails
As on Crecy's field I lay.

In the windless, blinding stillness
Of the glittering tropic sea
I can see the bubbles rising
Where we set the captives free.

Midst the spume of half a tempest
I have heard the bulwarks go
When the crashing, point blank round shot
Sent destruction to our foe.

I have fought with gun and cutlass
On the red and slippery deck
With all Hell aflame within me
And a rope around my neck.

And still later as a General
Have I galloped with Murat
When we laughed at death and numbers
Trusting in the Emperor's Star.

Till at last our star faded,
And we shouted to our doom
Where the sunken road of Ohein
Closed us in its quivering gloom.

So but now with Tanks a'clatter
Have I waddled on the foe
Belching death at twenty paces,
By the star shell's ghastly glow.

So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, - but always me.

And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o'er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.

So forever in the future,
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter,
But to die again, once more.

Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Will God appear to me? C. Wesley

The Mystery of Godliness
[2 Cor. 8:9; Rev. 19:13]

With glorious clouds encompassed round,
Whom angels dimly see,
Will the Unsearchable be found,
Or God appear to me?

Will he forsake his throne above,
Himself to worms impart?
Answer, thou Man of Grief and Love!
And speak it to my heart.

In manifested love explain
Thy wonderful design:
What meant the suffering Son of Man?
The streaming blood divine?

Didst thou not in our flesh appear,
And live and die below,
That I may now perceive thee near,
And my Redeemer know?

Come then, and to my soul reveal
The heights and depths of grace,
Those wounds which all my sorrows heal,
That dear disfigured face.

Before my eyes of faith confest,
Stand forth a slaughter'd Lamb:
And wrap me in thy crimson vest,
And tell me all thy name.

Jehovah in thy person show,
Jehovah crucified!
And then the pard'ning God I know,
And fell the blood applied.

I view the Lamb in his own light,
Whom angels dimly see;
And gaze, transported at the sight,
To all eternity.

Rev. Charles Wesley
Sacred Poetry

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Name Above All Names

On this day, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, the Epistle reading in the American Prayer Book (1928) is that famous passage from Philippians 2, where we read that, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord.  

In the Jewish tradition, a child is named at his circumcision (which is why Christians traditionally name their children at their baptism).  Thus, Mary's child was given the name Jesus on this day - but what a picture!  The name given on this day is the name of him who would save his people from their sins.  It is the name of the promised King.  It is the name before which everyone - and that means everyone - will bow and confess that he is indeed Lord of all.  

When Jesus was circumcised, he - as in his baptism - fulfilled all righteousness and was made like his brethren.  He continued his act of humility, becoming another son of Abraham, a member of his own covenant with Abraham centuries before.  Yet, in this humble act, he takes on his name; that name full of his mission and his destiny.  A name that would hold more glory than any name a man ever held.

The traditional Epistle reading for this day was from Romans 4.  I rather like this one from Philippians 2.  Don't you?