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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
In response to SandmanJazz’s 30 Day Film Challenge today, to wit, a film that inspired you, I like his repartee to the prompt: “Inspired me to what?🤣”
Inspired me to what?
And that made me think of a movie I saw just in the last month on Amazon Prime: Healing River (2020), written & directed by Mitch Teemley. It’s a religious drama borne out of sudden tragedy. I hesitate to call it “religious” because that brings to mind the Hallmark pablum variety. This is more of a drama in the vein of Mike Nichols’s directorial debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966). Although it’s no black comedy, Healing River socks it to you with its fluid cinematography, character psychology, acerbic, no-holds barred dialogue and – here’s where the inspiration comes from – brutal honesty about what it means to be a Christian.
In Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, we are told rightly that “if [man] is not stupid, he is monstrously ungrateful! Phenomenally ungrateful. In fact, I believe that the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”
True, sadly. It’s the reason we allow life to overwhelm us at times. But what if we learned to be more grateful to God, to count the countless blessings He has given us?
Our joy and peace in Him would overflow. I guarantee we would all be less stressed, more ready to give back to God from all that He has given us.
When my children were little I used to teach them a little song about counting our blessings and naming them “one by one.” I hoped to make this a habit not only to lead to a habit of living life in praise to God and trusting in Him to provide, but also to live life with joy as He intended.
A weary journey, a wakeful night,
They left their camp before daylight
An old man carrying the weight of years
Wrinkled cheeks wet with tears
At hearing the young boy at his side
Prattle on with childish pride
That he alone had been chosen
To help his father on this mission.