Thursday, February 5, 2009

Walk in it!

Rufus Ellis has been my unexpected Boston Unitarian companion this past week or so and what a joy it has been. Writing as the short life of the heyday of Boston Unitarian Christianity was ending, Ellis sought the most basic common denominators on the Way. Though highly educated and known by his highly educated fellows for his keen intelligence, he consistently insisted on the secondary importance of doctrinal and theological argument in favor of walking the daily walk of faith and service. This message has particular resonance with me these days and I am grateful for it. Some final thoughts from Rufus Ellis:

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am there shall also my servant be. — John, xii. 26.

1. " If any man serve me, let him follow me." It ^ is one of the singular privileges of the Christian life that it is a following. Called after the name of Christ, it is our share in His steadily advancing victory. To possess our souls in patience, to take our law from God's lips and our portion from God's hand, to enter into our rest here and to look for a better rest beyond, while it is not an easy so it is not an untried thing. Jesus has wrought out all this deliverance. We have always before our eyes an example of all holy living and dying, — not what man might haply do and bear if only God were with him, but what man has done and has borne with that Divine help... And lest any should imagine that this wonder of goodness descended upon our earth as it were complete, — a radiant and angelic vision, with no mark of conflict, — Jesus goes before us to the battle, and is careful to make known in part the mystery of His struggling life; and in more than one of the narratives which in the Divine Providence have come down to us we see Him treading the wine-press alone, and doing battle with the very Prince of this world. He has told us in parables of His temptations in the wilderness. We see indeed that they were incident to a transcendent elevation of aim and a singular purity of purpose, and yet they were real. It could be no mean fight which could detain the Son of God forty days and forty nights
2. "If any man serve me, let him follow me." How simple and single our Christian life becomes when it is clearly and heartily recognized as a following ! — no more the inquiry, "What is Truth ; no more a journey of exploration in the hope to find the true Way; no more a mere problem of Life waiting for the solution which the wise may have to offer. If men and women might only begin with the following to which they are often graciously brought at last! If only aims which are so often shadowy, and endeavors which are only a beating of the air might become the loyalty of the follower who hears and obeys the Master's voice! If only to those who have lost the path of life we would not offer treatises upon journeys and journeying and maps of all the universe, but would simply point to the open road and say, Walk in it!
Strive to be like Him,— that is revealed to you as one of the possibilities of your new life. And to be like Him is to be with Him, and to see Him as He is, and to have a hope for other worlds than this. Go forward — not only in thought as so many do, not only in imagination of things which might be, but in very deed and truth. Take your place in the very front rank. It is true that death is there ; but where death is not there can be no larger, higher, better, nobler life; and they who seek first of all for safety must not hope for salvation."


1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

Hi BU:

Thank you for your reflections on Rufus Ellis. Wonderful man and teacher.

Jesus is a role model. To follow Him is a mightly challenge. Something worthy of attempting for a life time.

Thank you for your wonderful blog,

David Markham