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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Vocation’ Category

Singing and slaying

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The Rohirrim sing oft in battle:

Merry and Pippin heard, clear in the cold air, the neighing of war–horses, and the sudden singing of many men. The Sun’s limb was lifted, an arc of fire, above the margin of the world. Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the East; the red light gleamed on mail and spear.

And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of the battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

See also: Worship is warfare, Treebeard, Worship is warfare (2)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Joyful

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Naw, I don’t think life is a tragedy. Tragedy is something that can be explained by the professors. Life is the will of God and this cannot be defined by the professors; for which all thanksgiving. I think it is impossible to live and not to grieve but I am always suspicious of my own grief lest it be self-pity in sheeps [sic] clothing. And the worst thing is to grieve for the wrong reason, for the wrong loss. Altogether it is better to pray than to grieve; and it is greater to be joyful than to grieve. But it takes more grace to be joyful than any but the greatest have. (Flannery O’Connor, Collected Works, quoted in Ralph Wood, Flannery O’Connor and the Christ–Haunted South, 214-215)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

The joy-filled life

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I was delighted by C. R. Wiley’s thoughts on Tom Bombadil in these two blog posts: Bombadil at Home and The Bombadil Option.

I try to keep [Bombadil] in mind when the Gandalfs of the world try to send me gallivanting off on an adventure. I’m not immune, mind you. At times I feel the stirring, and sometimes I even ride off to try and save the day. But eventually I come home again. And after that?—wistfully stare out the window and long for significance?

Or should I gather water lilies for my Goldberry and enjoy her charms; eating the food she has prepared for me and sitting by the fire and laughing as I recall the queer antics of badgers? I think so—because that’s the world I’m made for, the world I go to save when the lust for derring-do sweeps me along. That’s the world I’ve been given to serve as master.

Written by Scott Moonen

December 30, 2017 at 12:26 am

Posted in Miscellany, Vocation

Joy at the end of the tether

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The Lord enjoins every one of us, in all the actions of life, to have respect to our own calling. He knows the boiling restlessness of the human mind, the fickleness with which it is borne hither and thither, its eagerness to hold opposites at one time in its grasp, its ambition. Therefore, lest all things should be thrown into confusion by our folly and rashness, he has assigned distinct duties to each in the different modes of life. And that no one may presume to overstep his proper limits, he has distinguished the different modes of life by the name of callings. Every man’s mode of life, therefore, is a kind of station assigned him by the Lord, that he may not be always driven about at random. So necessary is this distinction, that all our actions are thereby estimated in his sight, and often in a very different way from that in which human reason or philosophy would estimate them. There is no more illustrious deed even among philosophers than to free one’s country from tyranny, and yet the private individual who stabs the tyrant is openly condemned by the voice of the heavenly Judge. But I am unwilling to dwell on particular examples; it is enough to know that in every thing the call of the Lord is the foundation and beginning of right action. He who does not act with reference to it will never, in the discharge of duty, keep the right path. He will sometimes be able, perhaps, to give the semblance of something laudable, but whatever it may be in the sight of man, it will be rejected before the throne of God; and besides, there will be no harmony in the different parts of his life. Hence, he only who directs his life to this end will have it properly framed; because free from the impulse of rashness, he will not attempt more than his calling justifies, knowing that it is unlawful to overleap the prescribed bounds. He who is obscure will not decline to cultivate a private life, that he may not desert the post at which God has placed him. Again, in all our cares, toils, annoyances, and other burdens, it will be no small alleviation to know that all these are under the superintendence of God. The magistrate will more willingly perform his office, and the father of a family confine himself to his proper sphere. Every one in his particular mode of life will, without repining, suffer its inconveniences, cares, uneasiness, and anxiety, persuaded that God has laid on the burden. This, too, will afford admirable consolation, that in following your proper calling, no work will be so mean and sordid as not to have a splendor and value in the eye of God. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.10.6)

HT: Rich Lusk

Written by Scott Moonen

March 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Vocation

Reformation

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Jon Barlow writes:

History works because of the suckers. I am not ashamed to be counted among the suckers. If the sucker can rule his own heart, he is greater than he who can rule a city (Prov. 16:32). Tell me that the broken politics in America right now is not an externalized vision of your own heart and I’ll praise your self mastery. Otherwise, there is a city for you to rule right now. It requires no compromise. You are a little laboratory of the word and spirit and and you can try out any program of reform you like right now. You can experiment with incentives. You can legislate morality. You can implement austerity. You can give everything away. You can keep everything and use it for good. There will be a day when your little city stands before a much more exalted bar than a senate oversight committee meeting.

Jordan Ballor quotes Bavinck on a similar theme:

All good, enduring reformation begins with ourselves and takes its starting point in one’s own heart and life. If family life is indeed being threatened from all sides today, then there is nothing better for each person to be doing than immediately to begin reforming within one’s own circle and begin to rebuff with the facts themselves the sharp criticisms that are being registered nowadays against marriage and family. Such a reformation immediately has this in its favor, that it would lose no time and would not need to wait for anything. Anyone seeking deliverance from the state must travel the lengthy route of forming a political party, having meetings, referendums, parliamentary debates, and civil legislation, and it is still unknown whether with all that activity he will achieve any success. But reforming from within can be undertaken by each person at every moment, and be advanced without impediment.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 4, 2013 at 6:09 am

Posted in Quotations, Vocation

Patience

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Patience is a fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, . . . — Gal. 5:22

Patience and faith and wisdom and maturity are all bound up together. Consider Abraham’s faith and patience:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. — Heb. 11:8-10

From the time of God’s promise to Abraham, it was over four hundred years before his descendants were freed from Egyptian slavery. It was a thousand years before Solomon dedicated God’s palace in what was once Melchizedek’s Salem on Mount Moriah. It was another thousand years before Jesus the new Melchizedek inaugurated the New Jerusalem of his church.

Sometimes the patience that the Spirit wants to forge in us is a thousand-year patience.

What would it look like if we were to have a thousand-year patience in our dreams and visions for God’s church?

That is not to say that we should be complacent, or work with any less fervor. It is simply to recognize that God’s kingdom grows like yeast or like a tree. We see this in our own lives, too: while there are great seasons of spring-like growth, over the long haul maturation and glorification is largely a matter of plodding self-sacrificial faithfulness. While the kingdoms of men might rise and fall quickly by the compulsion and cowing of the sword, God’s kingdom flourishes by the nurture (Eph. 5:26) and cutting (Eph. 6:17) of the sword of the Spirit — the word of God.

But this also expands our horizons: what would it look like to dream thousand-year dreams and pray thousand-year prayers for God’s church? If God intends to bless his people to a thousand generations (Ps. 105:8), as his own personal name attests (Ex. 34:6-7), then things might only just be starting to warm up after another thousand years.

See also the future of Jesus.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 8, 2013 at 6:36 am

Better

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“God has better plans for you than an easy life and victories to follow victories.” — Daniel Baker