Sunday, March 8, 2009

Brighter and brighter...

William Phillips Tilden was a near total "Peace Man" who, even as an ardent abolitionist, could only with great pain accept the Civil War. In his autobiography he relates that his lukewarm endorsement did not go over well in his congregations as his sermons lacked "powder and shell." For this second Sunday in lent, Tilden makes Paul's famous "armour of God" passage serve the great "upward walk." Have a blessed Sabbath.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. . . .
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace ;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
fraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance. . . .
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Ephesians vi.

THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT (Tilden's Meditation)

"BE strong in the Lord ! Look aloft! Open your soul to the Holy Spirit, so that " By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness," ye may "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
" Take unto you the whole armour of God." Spend your life in answering others' prayers; help those weaker than yourself to stand. To win an angel guest be an angel guest; live for something mightier than your own little self. Sing " Hand in hand with angels" as you brush away your tears to lift another's burden. The two-fold love of God and man, the love of God humanized, and the love of man spiritualized, must work together, like the two halves of the human heart, in purifying our spiritual life, and in giving to the pulse a strong and healthy beat. Man draws strength, not only from the sunshine of favorable circumstances, but from clouds of trial, storms of temptation, and gales of adversity. Life is lifted above chance into eternal verities, born out of the bosom of The Great Forever, the heart of the Eternal. The soul, by virtue of its birthright, is made strong for the upward look, and for the upward walk in the path that grows brighter and brighter to the perfect day."


PRESS on, press on! ye sons of light
Untiring in your holy fight
Still treading each temptation down
and battling for a brighter crown

Press on, press on! through toil and woe,
With calm resolve, to triumph go;
And make each dark and threatening ill
Yield but a higher glory still.
Press on, press on! still look in Faith
To him who conquereth sin and death
Then shall ye hear his word, " Well done."
True to the last, press on, press on!

William Gaskell.

1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

Hi BU:

It seems like a bleak view and I am not so hot on the metaphors of war which have seemed so popular over the millenium.

Life an be a struggle but we are not surrounded by wickedness so much as ignorance, unawareness, and stupidity. You don't struggle against stupidity with a sword, a gun,an atomic bomb. You can't win hearts and minds with force.

Jesus said the way was love and we humans seem very reluctant when we have a gun in our holster or a sword in a scabbard.

all the best,

David Markham