I love chicken wings. But I don’t just enjoy eating chicken wings because of their obvious deliciousness. I do it as a spiritual discipline. Before you dismiss me as either being sarcastic or idiotic, hear me out. I am being serious. Eating Chicken Wings is a Spiritual Discipline and I will explain how.
Text: John 20:19-29
Others May, You Cannot
By G.D. Watson (1845-1924)
If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Martha is mad that Mary isn’t doing anything. Martha wants credit, thanks, encouragement, and help. She blames Mary for being idle. She blames Jesus for letting Mary be idle. We know Jesus rebukes Martha and praises Mary. We know Jesus said Mary has chosen the better portion. We pretend to believe. But in reality, we spend our lives acting out Martha. Not just that, we think to ourselves that Jesus must be wrong. If everyone sat around doing nothing like Mary, then nothing would get done. We fail to realize that Jesus wasn’t talking about how we spend the entirety of our time, but rather emphasizing the two possible foci for our work. Mary and Martha represent two roads you can take in regards to your work. And Jesus is very clear in other places about where these roads end up.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
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Previously, I wrote about the difficulty directors and writers often have in displaying true goodness. One of things that accounts for this is the “terror of goodness.” I also mentioned that Lewis does a good job of capturing this by depicting Aslan as a lion. Recently, I reread Lars Walker’s novel Wolf Time in which the protagonist (a history professor) encounters an angel, and the description struck me as coming close to describing the terror and shock of encountering such goodness. As a late Christmas gift to you, I share that passage:
“A moment later Martell [the protagonist] found himself on his face in the snow. He’d read Biblical accounts where people who saw angels collapsed in fear. He’d never understood why until now. It was as if he’d had the chance to view history as it happened, and to compare it to his own articles [on history], discovering for the first time all the ways he’d been wrong. The very existence of this being made the ground beneath his feet unstable. Its height denounced his values. The set of its shoulders was a reproach to his character. If this was an angel, a messenger from God, then almost nothing he had ever valued or counted on was of any moment. He’d paid out the budgeted coin of his life for grimcrackeries. No wonder prophets had responded to theophanies by abasing their bodies and wailing over sins.”