Monthly Archives: March 2014

Come O Thou Traveller Unknown

Today I spent an hour in a gorgeous stone cathedral here in Meadville. What a treat! Have you ever spent time in an atmosphere with a soaring vaulted ceiling and stone walls? It is inspiring to say the least, especially while singing. No one was around. It was purely worshipful. I walked the aisles, singing songs as they came to mind or as I found them in the hymnal.

I have sung this song before but only four select verses or so. I did not know this poem was so long or so majestic. The author’s name I do not recall nor can I access it currently. Using metaphor he has written a beautiful prose that parallels Jacob’s struggle with his Heavenly visitor at the Jabbok River. I considered condensing it but doing so won’t give it its full justice. Singing this song in its fullness today was deeply moving. In a small way, I entered into the author’s struggle to know Love. It’s a struggle that will always be there; a struggle to know, to draw close, and define Love. Ultimately we can’t but through persistence, Love will show itself to us.

 

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,

whom still I hold, but cannot see!

My company before is gone,

and I am left alone with thee;

with thee all night I mean to stay

and wrestle till the break of day.

 

I need not tell thee who I am,

my misery and sin declare;

thyself hast called me by my name,

look on they hands and read it there,

But who, I ask thee, who art thou?

Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

 

In vain thou strugglest to get free,

I never will unloose my hold;

art thou the man that died for me?

The secret of thy love unfold;

wrestling, I will not let thee go,

till I thy name, thy nature know.

 

Wilt thou not yet to me reveal

thy new, unutterable name?

Tell me, I still beseech thee, tell,

to know it now resolved I am;

wrestling, I will not let thee go,

till I thy name, thy nature know.

 

Tis all in vain to hold thy tongue

or touch the hollow of my thigh;

though every sinew be unstrung,

out of my arms thou shalt not fly;

wrestling I will not let thee go

till I thy name, thy nature know.

 

What though my shrinking flesh complain

and murmur to contend so long?

I rise superior to my pain:

when I am weak then I am strong,

and when my all of strength shall fail

I shall with the God-man prevail

 

Contented now upon my thigh

I halt, till life’s short journey end;

all helplessness, all weakness I

on thee alone for strength depend;

nor have I power from thee to move;

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

 

My strength is gone, my nature dies,

I sink beneath thy weighty hand,

faint to revive, and fall to rise;

I fall, and yet by faith I stand;

I stand and will not let thee go

till I thy name, thy nature know.

 

Yield to me now – for I am weak

but confident in self-despair!

Speak to my heart, in blessing speak,

be conquered by my instant prayer:

speak, or thou never hence shalt move,

and tell me if thy name is Love.

 

‘Tis Love! ’tis Love! thou diedst for me,

I hear thy whisper in my heart.

The morning breaks, the shadows flee,

pure Universal Love thou art:

to me, to all, thy mercies move –

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

 

My prayer hath power with God; the grace

unspeakable I now receive;

through faith I see thee face to face,

I see thee face to face, and live!

In vain I have not wept and strove –

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

 

I know thee, Savior, who thou art,

Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;

nor wilt thou with the night depart,

but stay and love me to the end:

thy mercies never shall remove,

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

 

The Sun of Righteousness on me

hath risen with healing in his wings:

withered my nature’s strength; from thee

my soul its life and succor brings;

my help is all laid up above;

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

 

Lame as I am, I take the prey,

hell, earth, and sin with ease overcome;

I leap for joy, pursue my way,

and as a bounding hart fly home,

through all eternity to prove

thy nature, and thy name is Love.

EJ

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C.S. Lewis: On Charity

One of the great parts about the life of a student is being forced to read books you otherwise may not have read. Mere Christianity is one such book. I probably would have read it based on the recommendations of my friends, but I’m getting far more out of the book than I think I would have otherwise. Anyway, it blessed me again so here’s a bit of Lewis to brighten your day. Lewis on charity:

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not wast time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as  if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more, or at least, to dislike it less.

Consequently, though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are full of sentimentality, and though it is quite distinct from affection, yet it leads to affection. The difference between a Christian and a worldly man is not that the worldly man has only affections or ‘likings’ and the Christian has only ‘charity’. The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.

At the risk of quoting the entire book, I will quit. But really, you should read the entire book.

EJ 

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A Quote from Mere Christianity

Repentance means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part o yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person — and he would not need it.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, page 57

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