Echoes of an unspoken sermon

November 3rd, 2008

Morning. Thoughts about life; about music. I make coffee and pour a cup. Max, the Chowderhead, is fed and lying at my feet. I pick up staff paper, blank – and pencil, loaded. Nothing comes. My mind is racing. I ask God, “What am I doing here? What shall I write down?”

There is silence, other than a nudge to read. I pick up C. S. Lewis’s book George MacDonald, An Anthology: 365 Readings. In it are short quotes that Lewis loved; one for each day of the year. The first one, “Dryness,” reads:

That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, “Thou are my refuge.”

I look at the source. The quote is from Unspoken Sermons, First Series, “The Child in the Midst.” I reach for that book, by George MacDonald, and read the sermon – for the second or third time, as it happens.

During the reading I find that I will have to read it several times more. Still, it is moving, and useful.

At one point, MacDonald goes on a tirade of love and admiration, pouring out his racing mind in a long paragraph that we might ponder and from which we may learn perspective. (After reading it, the new movement began, bolting onto the blank paper quickly and clearly; where it goes now, I don’t know.)

The God who is ever uttering himself in the changeful profusions of nature; who takes millions of years to form a soul that shall understand him and be blessed; who never needs to be, and never is, in haste; who welcomes the simplest thought of truth or beauty as the return for seed he has sown upon the old fallows of eternity, who rejoices in the response of a faltering moment to the age-long cry of his wisdom in the streets; the God of music, of painting, of building, the Lord of Hosts, the God of mountains and oceans; whose laws go forth from one unseen point of wisdom, and thither return without an atom of loss; the God of history working in time unto Christianity; this God is the God of little children, and he alone can be perfectly , abandonedly simple and devoted. The deepest, purest love of a woman has its well-spring in him. Our longing desires can no more exhaust the fullness of the treasures of the Godhead, than our imagination can touch their measure. Of him not a thought, not a joy, not a hope of one of his creatures can pass unseen; and while one of them remains unsatisfied, he is not Lord over all.

And then, for a moment; a thought. I wrote it down. This is what is says:

A small seed, now living but still. Then placed in good dirt and killed, buried and wetted, drowned with water.

Now, alive again – new life. Bursting forth and green, pushing through the grave of dirt, building roots to support the thrust to light.

Sun, warmth, moisture and time. All work together and the plant grows according to the design held within the seed from it sprouts. A colorful flower? A blade of green grass? A young shoot of grain?

A shade tree? Each will do as it is made, delighting the eye and feeding the bee, softening the ground and protecting the dirt – and worms, feeding and fulfilling or giving relief to man and bird, both within God’s grace.

The seed may be new, or very old. Its potential hidden within. Without dying it cannot – it will not – make new life, speaking the Word of God, making known His Truth.

There is no haste, It grows apace.

Observed? Ignored? Obeyed?

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