A Common-Place Jotting: “Lord, It Belongs Not To My Care”

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Richard Baxter was a 17th-century English theologian and Reformed pastor whose fruitfulness in ministry continues to inspire the church today. Most quoted is this advice to those in ministry which, given recent high-profile scandals, can use another dusting off:

Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach . . . and lest you famish yourselves while you prepare food for them.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Also a poet, Baxter summarized the manner of his preaching this way: 

I preach’d, as never sure to preach again,
And as a dying man to dying men!
O how should preachers men’s repenting crave,
Who see how near the church is to the grave?

More Arms to Reach You

If I had more arms to reach You
Would that help? But You say,
Two will do now
To reach my neighbor.

Eyes upward, arms outward: Happy Lord’s Day

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12

Check out more flower photography at Cee’s FOTD challenge for April 25, 2021

Rebirth

For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. — Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”

There ought not to be anything but that my mind has ordered it so —

So I had been taught — for the mind is designer

Reality but the by-blow, bastard child that diminishes as I diminish

But that the Emperor of Ice-Cream has clay feet

Which stand on eternity’s threshold eyeing a feast.

There the bread and wine of Thy design

Grain and grape sweetly lies upon the tongue

To “taste and see the goodness of the LORD”

Yet nothing tasting if not sanctified by Thy Word

Blood spilled and body broken

Spoken gospel of love heard by a few

Who once nothing being are born in You

Till nothing become sons and daughters

Alive to You.


Laura at dVerse asks us to address paradox as a matter for today’s “Poetics” prompt, including using as a starting point and/or epigraph the above Wallace Stevens quotation. Click on Mr. Linky for more and join in!

You Have Been Good to Me, LORD

I’m loving the Psalms this morning, especially those whose words have sunk deep into my heart. Of them, Psalm 121 always comes to mind. And how it causes me to say, in the words of Psalm 13: 6, “I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (ESV)
Audrey Assad, “Good To Me” (lyrics below)

Good To Me (Audrey Assad)

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, yeah

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I trust in Your promise

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Because You’ re good (You are good to me, good to me)
So good (You are good to me, good to me)
You are good to me

A Common-Place Jotting: In Dir Ist Freude

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

http://www.hymntime.com/tch

Written by Johann Lindemann in 1598, “In Dir Ist Freude” (“In Thee is Gladness”) was translated from the German by Catherine Winkworth almost three hundred years later. Winkworth was a pioneer in promoting women’s rights as well as promoting women’s higher education. Johann Lindemann was one of the signers of the Lutheran Formula of Concord, and served often as a cantor in various churches in his native Germany. The hymn is often performed using J.S. Bach’s arrangement.

In Thee is Gladness              

In thee is gladness amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart!
By thee are given the gifts of heaven,
thou the true redeemer art!
Our souls thou wakest, our bonds thou breakest,
who trusts thee surely hath built securely,
and stands forever: Hallelujah!
Our hearts are pining to see thy shining,
dying or living to thee are cleaving,
naught can us sever: Hallelujah!

If he is ours, we fear no powers,
nor of earth, nor sin, nor death.
He sees and blesses in worst distresses;
he can change them with a breath.
Wherefore the story, tell of his glory,
with heart and voices all heav’n rejoices
in him forever: Hallelujah!
We shout for gladness, triumph o’er sadness,
love thee and praise thee,
and still shall raise thee
glad hymns forever: Hallelujah!

Continue reading “A Common-Place Jotting: In Dir Ist Freude”

Through It All: Fruit

Prostrated by the summer’s heat, we cannot always see the fruit that is being produced on a vine. Just so, cast down by our sufferings, it’s hard to see the fruit God is producing in us. Even so, Lord God, we pray, let it all be to your glory! Amen.

Summer Berries

[Christ Jesus said:] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

John 15: 1-6
Continue reading “Through It All: Fruit”

Coaster to Coaster

Getting my coasters all lined up for a reading break.

Yesterday I was privileged to read Candace Owens’s Blackout and was impressed by this young woman’s sagacity and determination to break out of the collective mold she had been forced into by virtue of the color of her skin through the demagoguery of political leaders and educators. Her personal story was well worth reading in and of itself, apart from the views she now holds as to how best her fellow black Americans can advance their communities and enhance their lives individually.

Today, back to British historian Tom Holland’s Dominion, his most recent offering, much more of a slow read given the breadth of his subject but now that I’m more than half-way through, enjoying his take on the world-changing nature of Judaeo-Christian values which have raised the conditions of the marginalized, the poor and the helpless to a status they would never have enjoyed otherwise. By dint of his being an agnostic, Holland’s objectivity is especially impressive for its unfiltered look at the now universally-touted values of individuality, freedom, civil rights and tolerance that Christians helped advance throughout the world by their belief in the dignity of every human being made in the image of God.

All this by way of saying I’ll be on a blogging break for an indefinite time but will catch y’all back here as soon as may be.

Take care, my friends.

Joyful Dependance on God

Some of you have noticed the tagline to my site title “This Jolly Beggar”: “In Absolute Joyful, Dependance on the Grace and Love of God.” The story behind that is on my “C. S. Lewis on Jolly Beggars” page.

These Blue Stars, these Jolly Beggars

So when I saw these tiny sparkling blue flowers in an out-of-the-way patch of dirt down an alley, I recognized in them this quality of joyful dependance on God. Nothing dimmed their sparkle. And eyes that were open to their presence were blessed beyond all reason. Why? Because languishing here in this little patch where no one noticed them, these little stalks of blue stars, these jolly beggars boldly testified to God’s faithfulness.

Today I read of another “jolly beggar,” Rika Theron, who lives in South Africa. As the author of the article on Rika writes:

This. This is a life of suffering. And this is a life of breathtaking beauty. . . . .

In a world that worships fame and productivity, indulgences and self-sufficiency, Rika’s life may seem unbearably difficult. She has not enjoyed the fleeting pleasures afforded to most people and has spent her life in relative seclusion, in pain and dependent on others. Yet watching Rika live in joyful dependence on God, touching the seen and unseen world, I realize she’s changing the universe as she fights her daily battles – perhaps having a greater impact on the kingdom of God than celebrities with large ministries. In heaven, the people who have suffered alone, in a small corner of the world, will shine more brightly than we can imagine.

Vaneetha Risner, “A Remarkable Life”

Rika knows that she is seen and known and loved by God. Do you have this same knowledge and joyful dependance on the God who suffered and has offered Himself for you?

Bear pain for one moment at a time; there is patience enough in Jesus for the next moment. You cannot exhaust God; and your work is to be, not in your might or power, but by his Spirit.  — F. B. Meyer

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10: 13
Photo for Cee's Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge. Be sure to visit Cee's Photo Challenges for amazing photography and fun photo challenges.

Here is Love

Dyma gariad fel y moroedd (Here is love vast as the ocean)

Welsh hymn by William Rees; Translator, William Edwards

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our ransom,
shed for us his precious blood.
Who his love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing his praise?
He can never be forgotten,
throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.

Mirror and Light

Are You not the Light, O Lord, and we but the mirror? Disperse the clouds that obstruct Thy light and be Thou our vision. Amen.

Mirrorl and Light

“Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Psalm 127:1-2 (ESV) A Song of Ascents