Saturday, November 20, 2010

Truth, freedom and gratitude…

Re-reading yesterday’s post, I was struck by a sentence from Victoria Boyson’s article: “Our thankful heart will produce an honest and accurate view of God.”

We I wonder how many others, like me, carry within us a curious little seed of doubt, that would have us sometimes wonder if all we know of God is not wishful thinking, so kind of illusion of the heart? Yet Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

This morning I attended, for the first time, the regular Saturday prayer meeting at my new church. Someone quoted these words of Jesus’ there, and they’ve been on the edge of my mind ever since.

It is God’s longing for us that we should know him, and that we should know his blessings as his, as in some way a glimpse of who he actually is. When Jesus healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) on the border between Samaria and Galilee, only one turned back to give thanks to God, and Jesus said to him, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?… Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and to the Colossians he wrote, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

It seems to be that as we live in Christ, as we try to follow him, and depend on him for healing and forgiveness when we fail, that we know who he really is. Every time I hear that remark of Jesus’ from John 8, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”, I can’t get over the fact that Jesus didn’t say, “Learn the truth, and the truth will set you free” or even, “Confess the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He said, “If you hold to my teachings… you will know the truth…”

“Our thankful heart will produce an honest and accurate view of God.” It does seem that way.

CS Lewis wrote somewhere, that “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”

While we’re on the subject of Lewis, that great scholar and apologist of the last century whose life is commemorated in the Episcopal Church calendar on Monday (though curiously not in our Church of England Calendar, when we remember St. Cecilia only) I can’t help but remember his book about the death of his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham, and of the process of his grieving. If I am tempted to be what a dear friend of mine calls “precious” about the potentially confessional side of this blog, I should remember that deeply personal, agonisingly raw piece of confessional literature from a man I admire, even love, as much as any writer I have read! Perhaps others may even be helped by what I may write here, in some small reflection, perhaps, of the way I have been helped by A Grief Observed.

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