Once upon a time is now

fairytale-land-1024x768

But the whole point of the fairy tale of the Gospel is, of course, that he is the king in spite of everything. The frog turns out to be the prince, the ugly duckling the swan, the little gray man who asks for bread the great magician with the power of life and death in his hands, and though the steadfast tin soldier falls into the flames, his love turns out to be fireproof. There is no less danger and darkness in the Gospel than there is in the Brothers Grimm, but beyond and above all there is the joy of it, this tale of a light breaking into the world that not even the darkness can overcome.

That is the Gospel,
this meeting of darkness and light
and the final victory of light.

That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, the one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still. To preach the Gospel in its original power and mystery is to claim in whatever way the preacher finds it possible to claim it that once upon a time is this time, now, and here is the dark wood that the light gleams at the heart of like a jewel, and the ones who are to live happily ever after are…all who labor and are heavy laden, the poor naked wretches wheresoever they be.

–Frederick Buechner
Telling the Truth

Advertisements

We must tell stories

battle-of-gideon-against-the-midianites-1626(1)

We must tell stories the way God does, stories in which a sister must float her little brother on a river with nothing but a basket between him and the crocodiles. Stories in which a king is a coward, and a shepherd boy steps forward to face the giant. Stories with fiery serpents and leviathans and sermons in whirlwinds.

Stories in which murderers are blinded on donkeys and become heroes. Stories with dens of lions and fiery furnaces and lone prophets laughing at kings and priests and demons. Stories with heads on platters. Stories with courage and crosses and redemption. Stories with resurrections.

―N. D. Wilson

Published in: on 01/30/2015 at 5:36  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

The sin of not rejoicing

joy rejoice-1

I think we all sin
by needlessly disobeying
the apostolic injunction
to ‘rejoice’ as much as
by anything else.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 01/29/2015 at 3:19  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Joining the conversation

2014-01-01-looking out-crop-windows on right-640x480Take the Gospel in hand. Here is a letter God sends you in friendship today. Let no person, no pretext, stop you from listening to this Word, from joining in this intimate conversation.

—Servias Pinckaers

 

Image: Jeremy Sutton

Love empowers change

546523_549a25cac3ec855d5c672f46c9ee6d6e_large
Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.

―Richard Rohr

Published in: on 01/27/2015 at 13:01  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

The other point of view

895f52d3001dc04852865942
The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.

– C. S. Lewis

Not only wild and wonderful

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And if there is a God who can take the dead and, without a single condition of credit-worthiness or a single pointless promise of reform, raise them up whole and forgiven, free for nothing—well, that would not only be wild and wonderful; it would be the single piece of Good News in a world drowning in an ocean of blame.

–Robert Farrar Capon

Art: Mikki Senkarik

Published in: on 01/24/2015 at 8:20  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Frequent failings

12_The_Watcher copy

You are surprised at your imperfections, — why? I should infer from that, that your self-knowledge is small. Surely you might rather be astonished that you do not fall into more frequent and more grievous faults, and thank God for His upholding grace.

―Jean Nicolas Grou
(1731–1803)

Nothing too absurd

25-Most-Beautiful-Animals-Photography-StumbleUpon-2 copy

A thing may be too sad to be believed
or too wicked to be believed
or too good to be believed;
but it cannot be too absurd
to be believed in this planet
of frogs and elephants,
of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.

–G.K. Chesterton
The Man Who Was Orthodox

Learning how to live

driving-lessons-midland

Jesus rarely “takes the wheel.”
Being co-laborers with God
means we get choices.
God wants to teach us
how to drive.

–Jonathan Martin

Getting a real personality

wallpaper-man-resting copy

The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.

–C. S. Lewis 
Mere Christianity

Invited to participate

p131-1-jpg

Here lies the tremendous mystery – that God should be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce. He summons us to cooperation. We are honored in being given the opportunity to participate in his good deeds. Remember how He asked for help in performing his miracles: Fill the waterpots, stretch out your hand, distribute the loaves.

–Elisabeth Elliot

Not alone

424926_Tree-Lined-AvenueI know:
there is someone
waiting for me,
who will not
give up on me,
who goes ahead of me,
who lifts me up,
someone to whom
I am important.

–Jürgen Moltmann

On the Crushing of Grapes

grapes_narrowweb__200x263God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers he uses to crush us with. If God would only use his fingers to make me broken bread and poured out wine in a spiritual way! But when he uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made wine to drink, we shall have to be crushed. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed. You can not drink grapes.

–Oswald Chambers

Both love and truth are vital

A man dressed as a city gentleman walks across a tightrope in London's financial district

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.

God’s saving love in Christ, however,
is marked by both radical truthfulness
about who we are and yet also radical,
unconditional commitment to us.

The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.

–Timothy Keller

Two lessons to learn

Stephen Darbishire 1940 - British Interiors and Landscape painter - Tutt'Art@ (18)

There are but two lessons
for the Christian to learn:
the one is to enjoy
God in everything;
the other is to enjoy
everything in God.

–Charles Simeon
(1759–1836)

Artwork: Stephen Darbishire

Adventuresome road

dangerous_road_Wallpaper_h
It must be made clear…
that the narrow path
that leads unto life
is as crowded
with adventure
as the broad path
that leads to
destruction.

–F. W. Boreham
The Ivory Spires

Walking past burning bushes

Japanese-Maple-Autumn

We must be open
to the possibility of God
addressing us in whatever way
he chooses or we may walk
right past a burning bush.

–Dallas A. Willard

Image: Jason Vandehey

It doesn’t fluctuate

looking up 4
The mistake
we so often make
is thinking that
God’s interest
and care for us
waxes and wanes
according to
our spiritual
temperature.

–Eugene Peterson ‏

Why would he do that?

17g_1250

When Jesus was approached by soldiers to be arrested and killed, Peter picked up a a sword and cut off the ear of a man named Malchus. Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, then picked up the ear and put it back on Malchus’ head. We imagine the dialogue: “I’m sorry about my disciple Peter. I’ve been work on him for three years, haven’t gotten very far. I apologized about the ear thing.”

Imagine when Malchus got home for dinner that night, and his wife asked, “How did work go today?” Malchus: “Well, my ear got cut off, but the strangest thing happened. The man who I came to have crucified healed me. Why would he do that?”

–John Ortberg
Who is This Man?

Published in: on 01/09/2015 at 10:21  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Heaven already inside

look

If you have really handed yourself over to Him it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

–C. S. Lewis
Christian Behavior

Through unknown waters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 almighty nail-pierced hands hold the wheel, and you will be safe.

–Peter Marshall
(1902-1949)

Published in: on 01/07/2015 at 3:55  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Listen for Him

17582_603996602948044_422615885_nTHE QUESTION is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.

Divider-6

We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fullness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement.

Divider-6

But be not affeard, says Caliban, nor is he the only one to say it. “Be not afraid,” says another, “for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.

–Frederick Buechner
The Sacred Journey

Life Is Meant to Be Spent

helping-hands

Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain—they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter.

post-divider copy

With an average life expectancy of 78.2 years in the US (subtracting eight hours a day for sleep), I have around 250,00 conscious hours remaining to me in which I could be smiling or scowling, rejoicing in my life, in this race, in this story, or moaning and complaining about my troubles.

post-divider copy

I can be giving my fingers, my back, my mind, my words, my breaths, to my wife and my children and my neighbors, or I can grasp after the vapor and the vanity for myself, dragging my feet, afraid to die and therefore afraid to live. And, like Adam, I will still die in the end.

― N. D. Wilson
Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent

Start living now

bodegones-ventanas-flores-oleos copy 2Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.

–Mary Manin Morrissey

 

Artwork: Stephen Darbishire

 

A prayer for the journey

538116_96649145c6b46a0e5f5bb41b4f65ec6e_large

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

–Thomas Aquinas
(1225–1274)

Image: hossein.zarei3

Hope, faith and love

2870315192_05bb7d0609_z

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
Therefore, we are saved by HOPE.

Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense
in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by FAITH.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by LOVE.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint
of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love
which is forgiveness.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Published in: on 01/02/2015 at 3:02  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Keep running the race

finish-line copy2

Keep sacrificing. Keep losing. Keep laying your life down. Keep loving your enemies. Keep blessing those who despise you. Keep refusing to return fire upon those who bad-mouth you. Keep pouring your life into others, even if those same people never acknowledge it and others never notice. Keep freely sharing what God gives you, even if some steal your words and make them their own without giving you credit. Keep faithfully serving your Lord without looking back.

Why? Because there is One who is watching. And only His opinion matters.

–Frank Viola

%d bloggers like this: