Passivity to the majesty of the Lord Jesus

“I think the biggest enemy in the church is not the devil. It’s our own passivity to the majesty of the Lord Jesus. At some point the Good News becomes okay news and Christianity is no longer life changing but merely life enhancing, and Jesus doesn’t change people into radicals anymore, just nice people. The church becomes dull, predictable, and monotonous. 

 

Here’s the thing about dullness, what it means is we’ve lost our capacity to be simple before God. We’ve lost the ability to live in wonder and astonishment.”

– Graham Cooke
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the gift of the “impossible”

“It may be that we have lost our ability to hold a blazing coal, to move unfettered through time, to walk on water, because we have been taught that such things have to be earned; we should deserve them; we must be qualified. We are suspicious of grace. We are afraid of the lavishness of the gift.
But a child rejoices in presents!”

(page 77)

“Am I suggesting that we really ought to be able to walk upon water? That there are (and not just in fantasies) easier and faster ways to travel than by jet or car? Yes, I am. There are too many stories of mystics being able to move hundreds of miles through the power of contemplation for us to be able to toss them aside. Over and over again throughout the centuries we have made choices which were meant to free us, but which ultimately have limited and restricted us. But the artist has retained some of the freedom we have lost in the industrial dailiness of our living.”

(page 94)

Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art

by Madeleine L’ Engle

My soul like a sleeping swan

Today I was asking God what I should do to move onward today: having finished ministry school Friday, gradually working on writing my book, eagerly waiting for job(s) to come together, feeling stir-crazy and frustrated. I felt that He said, “Read some poetry.” I thought it was a good idea, but less “practical” than my mind preferred. Nevertheless, I got out a book of poetry. This particular book is Shelley’s Poems and is over one hundred years old. I flipped open to a couple sections and read. In my reading, I floated across this:

“Asia Answers” from Shelley’s “Hymn to Asia”

My soul is an enchanted boat,

Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float

Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;

And thine doth like an angel sit

Beside a helm conducting it,

Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.

It seems to float ever, forever,

Upon that many-winding river,

Between mountains, woods, abysses,

A paradise of wildernesses!

Till, like one in slumber bound,

Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,

Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound.

And so, in my restlessness, I find the mental image of a sleeping swan: the promise of rest for those who dare to believe it is possible to rest while travelling down the river into the great ocean of destiny.  God has lived in Rest since creation, and through Jesus we are invited into it – not merely one day a week, but ongoing rest – the peace that passes understanding sort of rest. Ahhhhh… time to curl up our swan necks and tuck our heads into soft feathers, to travel while at rest. Sweet Jesus, making all things possible as usual.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it . . .

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrew 4:1 & 4:16)