Thursday, May 17, 2018

Daybreak!

The poem found below, by P. Habberton Fulham, in London Outlook, gives a striking figure that would well symbolize a human experience in passing from a season of darkness and trouble into one of joy and light:

As some great captain, ere the morn be red,
Might watch his tired ranks sleeping in
the dew,
Linger a moment, with some sense of me.
Then bid reveille sound o'er quick and
dead -
So the loth sun-god leaves his cloudy bed.
Then, swift the heavy hangings striding
through.
Bids the dawn's silver bugles sound anew.
His golden banners streaming overhead -
Like camp-fire smoke the mist of morning
stirs,
Like strewed arms seem the dewy glis-
tenings.
And, as that shining clarion peals on high,
Up spring the trees like bright-faced war-
riors,
Behind him each his cloak of shadow
flings.
And one great shout of color shakes the
sky!

Darkness Developing Character

      Darkness seems to be as necessary to life and growth in this world as is light. An earnest, tireless worker for Christ who has recently suffered through months of illness, writes a cheery word of sympathy to a fellow sufferer, and adds about herself: "It is a long time since I have done a day's work; it is only a half-hour's work, or maybe fifteen minutes at a time. And many days have been in a dark room. I wonder, sometimes, if a 'dark room' is as necessary for the developing of character as it is for the developing of negatives. If so, perhaps a time will come when I can look back upon the dark-room days with thankfulness. Just now, I want to work." To wait and to trust, if God directs that, even while one longs to be out in the light and at work, is to gain and grow in the development which only the dark room can give. (Text.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

O Bells In The Steeple

O Bells In The Steeple
by May Riley Smith

O BELLS in the steeple,
Ring out to all people
That Christ has arisen, that Jesus is here!
Touch heaven's blue ceiling
With your happy pealing,
O bells in the steeple, ring out full and clear!

O soft April showers,
Call out the young flowers,
Touch each little sleeper, and bid her obey!
Set daffodils blowing.
And fresh grasses growing,
To thrill the old world on this new Easter-day!

O lilies so stately,
Like maids tall and shapely,
Christ loved you, and talked of your beauty of old!
Stand up in your places,
And bend your white faces.
While swinging before Him your censers of gold!

O violets tender,
Your shy tribute render!
Tie round your wet faces your soft hoods of blue;
And carry your sweetness,
Your dainty completeness,
To some tired hand that is longing for you.

O velvet-bloomed willows.
Go comfort sick pillows
With visions of meadow-lands, peaceful and brown!
The breath of Spring lingers
Within your cold fingers.
And the brook's song is caught in your fringes of down.

O world, bowed and broken
With anguish unspoken.
Take heart and be glad, for the Lord is not dead !
On some bright to-morrow,
Your black cloud of sorrow
Will break in a sweet rain of joy on your head !

O bells in the steeple,
Ring out to all people.
That Christ has arisen, that Jesus is here!
Touch heaven's blue ceiling
With your happy pealing;
O bells in the steeple, ring out full and clear!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Call To Better Life

       When summer is ending the wild bird in arctic zones responds to the call of the tropic winds and perfumes and plumes his flight for southern feeding-grounds. So the soul of man is drawn and responds to subtle and haunting attractions in the realm of holiness and heaven.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Easter Dawn by Mary Lowe Dickinson

Easter Dawn

Yesterday, distress and gloom,
Folding shroud and rock-hewn tomb,
Where to-day is light and bloom.

Brooding darkness yesterday,
On the spot where Jesus lay;
Now the stone is rolled away,

And triumphant voices ring,
With the hymn the blessed sing,
Death at last has lost its sting:

Lost its sting and lost its sway,
O'er to-day or yesterday.
Where is now thy victory?

Where thy triumph, vaunting grave?
Seas of pardon softly lave
Souls the Master rose to save,

And the Easter bell's glad strain,
Is for all who, washed from stain,
Rise henceforth o'er sin and pain!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Soul Flight

A human soul went forth into the night,
Shutting behind it Death's mysterious door,
And shaking off with strange, resistless
might
The dust that once it wore.
So swift its flight, so suddenly it sped--
As when by skillful hand a bow is bent
The arrow flies--those watching round the
bed
Marked not the way it went.


Through the clear silence of the moonless
dark,
Leaving no footprint of the road it trod,
Straight as an arrow cleaving to its mark,
The Soul went home to God.
"Alas!" they cried, "he never saw the morn
But fell asleep outwearied with the 
strife"--
Nay, rather, he arose and met the dawn
Of everlasting life.

                      "My Flight For Heaven"

Friday, June 5, 2015

Keeping Under The Body

"Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now, they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible. I, therefore, so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." 1 Corinthians 9: 25-27

       Standing upon the threshold of another Lent, with an earnest desire to make the most of its sacred opportunities, we must today strike out some line of thought which we can follow through this holy tide. It ought to be one rich in spiritual suggestion, and full of practical helpfulness. Such a theme is suggested to us by St. Paul: -- Striving for the Mastery; the mastery over self, over satan, over the world, over adversity, over sin, over suffering, over death. Let us try to set before ourselves this great theme in all its many-sidedness.
       Today let us consider the mastery which we need to gain over that lower part of ourselves which the Bible speaks of as "the body" or "our flesh."
       St. Paul, drawing a vivid and forceful illustration from the Corinthian games, lets us into the secrets of his spiritual life, and gives us a glimpse of the methods by which his splendid character was matured. With possibly some pathetic allusion to the bodily weakness which they had despised and to that "thorn in the flesh " which so sorely troubled him, he reveals to his Corinthian converts the tactics of his spiritual warfare. " So fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." Grasp the force of these words. They mean, "It is no unreal contest in which I am engaged. It is a deadly conflict. I am face to face with my enemy. Every blow must be delivered directly at him with the most telling effect. I fight fiercely, desperately, doggedly. I strike, not at random, but with all my skill and with all my might. I crush my adversary with repeated heavy blows. I humble him and keep him low." Such was the struggle which St. Paul assured his followers he was accustomed to carry on.
       But who was his opponent in this hard-fought fight, the recipient of these deadly blows? None other than his own body, his flesh, the old Adam within him. This was the enemy against whom he had to contend and whom he was determined to subdue. Here was a foe within his own borders against whom he must wage unceasing warfare. Here was a rebellious force which must be crushed and kept under close restraint, if he was to dwell in safety and possess his soul in peace.
       To this same warfare we are called all our life long, and especially during this Lent. The body with its pleasures, its exacting requirements, its incessant demands, is the enemy of our higher life. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other." There is an irrepressible conflict between the two.
       How is the body to be subdued? By scourgings, by severe asceticism, by punishing the body for the sins of the soul? Some of us have seen that great painting of The Flagellants, in which a multitude of young and old are pictured as lashing themselves fiercely to turn aside the wrath of God. Is it thus that our bodies must be subdued? Must we cut, and bruise, and starve our flesh into subjection to the soul? Which is right, the ascetic spirit of the past, or the easy living of today? Neither of them is wholly right, they are both perilous extremes. When St. Paul spoke of keeping under his body, he included in that expression all those claims originating from our existence in bodily form which war against the soul. Everything which is wisely adapted to overcome them ought to be used. There are some sins which only fasting and prayer can cast out. There are some natures for whom severe bodily discipline is a necessity. For all of us the Church evidently considers some measure of abstinence from the gratification of the desires of our flesh as a most wholesome discipline. So long as we are in the body we shall not become spiritual by means wholly spiritual. We shall need a wise combination of disciplme for the soul and body both. We must keep under the body while we educate the soul.
       In this great conflict with our lower selves we have need of absolute sincerity. We must recognize our body, with all its strong animal appetites, its downward tendencies, its almost incorrigible selfishness, as an insidious and deadly enemy of our spiritual life. The deceitful lusts of the flesh which war against the soul are cruel and cunning foes. We must have no sham fighting, no beating of the air. The contest is a very real, a very anxious, a very momentous one. We cannot afford to deceive ourselves or to be deceived. We must be in dead earnest, must know exactly what we are about, and must make every blow tell. Has there been any unreality in our Christianity? Has our warfare against self been in the past somewhat feeble and faltering? Let us renew it today with a determination to fight as did St. Paul. Let us cast aside all secret tenderness for ourselves, and fight a good fight against the evil that is within us. Let us mercilessly buffet and mortify our fleshly lusts until we have brought them into complete subjection and gained the mastery over them.

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