Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seventh Sunday of Easter: Both the mother that bears and the child that is born

Opening Sentence
On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Collect of the Day
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 66, 67

Lessons: Exodus 3:1-12, Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 10:17-24

The weeks passed and seemed to bring no light, but only increased the earnestness of his search after it. He would have to find an answer before long, he thought, or he would have no choice but to resign his curacy and look for a position as tutor.

Of course all this he ought to have gone through long ago. But how can a man go through anything till his hour is come? Wingfold had all this time been skirting the wall of the kingdom of heaven without even knowing there was a wall there, not to say seeing a gate in it. The fault lay with those who had introduced him to the church as a profession, just as they might introduce someone to the practice of medicine, or the bar, or the drapery business--as if the ministry were on the same level of choice with other human callings. Never had he been warned to take off his shoes for the holiness of the ground. And yet how were they to have warned him when they themselves had never discovered the treasure in that ground more holy than libraries, incomes, and the visits of royalty? As to visions of truth that make a man sigh with joy and enlarge his heart with more than human tenderness--how many of those men had ever found such treasures in the fields of the church? How many of them knew, except by hearsay, whether there be any Holy Ghost? How then were they to warn other men from the dangers of following in their footsteps and becoming such as they? Where in a community of general ignorance shall we begin to blame? Wingfold had no time to accuse anyone. He simply had to awaken from the dead and cry for light, and was soon in the bitter agony of the paralyzing struggle between life and death. He thought afterward, when the time had passed, that surely in this period of darkness he had been visited and upheld by a power whose presence and even influence he was completely unaware of. Strange helps had come to him from time to time. The details of nature wonderfully softened toward him, and for the first time he began to notice her ways and shows and to see in them all the working of a different humanity. He later remembered how a hawthorne bud once set him weeping; and how once, as he was walking miserably to church, a child looked up in his face and smiled. In the strength of that smile, he had been able to confidently approach the lectern. He never knew how long he had been in the agony of his most peculiar birth--in which the soul is at the same time both the mother that bears and the child that is born.

George MacDonald

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name