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.

Common-Place Jotting: “Planting Trees”

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

John Updike (1932-2009) still casts a long shadow on the literary landscape. His writings were varied and many, but his craftsmanship set the standard among his contemporaries. He was only one of four writers who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction more than once.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he once described his subject as “the American small town, Protestant middle-class” everyman. His clarity of style and expression is the hallmark of his writing, causing a critic for The Guardian to warn, “The clarity of Updike’s poetry should not obscure its class.”

The following poem quickly became one of my favorites for its simple directness and descriptive force in conveying the grace available in the simple act of “Planting Trees.” The poem is from his fifth collection of poetry, Facing Nature.

Planting Trees                                                                 John Updike

Our last connection with the mythic.
My mother remembers the day as a girl
she jumped across a little spruce
that now overtops the sandstone house
where still she lives; her face delights
at the thought of her years translated
into wood so tall, into so mighty
a peer of the birds and the wind.

Too, the old farmer still stout of step
treads through the orchard he has outlasted
but for some hollow-trunked much-lopped
apples and Bartlett pears. The dogwood
planted to mark my birth flowers each April,
a soundless explosion. We tell its story
time after time: the drizzling day,
the fragile sapling that had to be staked.

At the back of our acre here, my wife and I,
freshly moved in, freshly together,
transplanted two hemlocks that guarded our door
gloomily, green gnomes a meter high.
One died, gray as sagebrush next spring.
The other lives on and some day will dominate
this view no longer mine, its great
lazy feathery hemlock limbs down-drooping,
its tent-shaped caverns resinous and deep.
Then may I return, an old man, a trespasser,
and remember and marvel to see
our small deed, that hurried day,
so amplified, like a story through layers of air
told over and over, spreading.

2560px-john_updike_childhood_home_shillington_berks_county-1

Common-Place Jotting: “Noli me tangere”

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

proxy-image-1
Portrait of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Oil on panel, derived from a lost drawing or painting by Hans Holbein the Younger of about 1540

As noted in yesterday’s common-place jotting on “Unto the Hert’s Forest,” history records that the poet, courtier, and diplomat Sir Thomas Wyatt (1501-1542) was rumored to have had, if not illicit relations, then certainly a dangerous affection for the flirtatious Anne Boleyn. Why dangerous? Because she was first the mistress, then the wife of the king of England, Henry VIII. Later, when she fell out of favor with Henry, she was beheaded on charges of adultery and treason. Wyatt was sent to the Tower of London, but through the efforts of Thomas Cromwell, escaped execution.

proxy-image
Portrait of Anne Boleyn

It is quite possible that the following sonnet expresses his anguish over his impossible love for Anne which, were he to pursue her, would be in vain. There is a hint in the poem that she is like a deer scenting the hunt; but the pursuit comes with an inherent warning to all: Noli me tangere, (“touch me not”) for Caesar’s I am.

Whoso List to Hunt, I Know Where is an Hind                 Sir Thomas Wyatt

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

A Little Christmas Carol in July

proxy-image

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol