December 23, 2011

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of Thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen."  -Collect printed in the front matter of Commentary written by Rev. J.R. Drummelow, 1957.

December 14, 2011

The Second Coming - W.B. Yeats

A bit of unusual Advent reading.  "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity./ Surely some revelation is at hand;/ Surely the Second Coming is at hand."     

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
  The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

 William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

December 13, 2011

The Martyr's Oath

The Martyr's Oath is a pledge that many Pioneer Missionaries take before launching out into the mission field, to not only live for the Lord, but to die for Him.  This concept is completely alien to our westernized Christianity.  We would do well to call to mind Bonhoeffer's words, "When Christ calls a man he bids him to come and die." (The Cost of Discipleship).  This oath can be found in various forms but its content is largely the same.  Following is one version which speaks clearly to the commitment to which we are called.
  • Today, I stand as a dead man. I declare that in Jesus Christ, I am saved by his blood, and thus I am dead to sin, and no longer dead in my sin. 
  • Today, I stand and declare that I surrender my will and my life to His will and His life. 
  • I shall go where He sends me, without asking questions. 
  • I shall go to whomever He sends me, without seeking fame. 
  • I shall preach to everyone, even if they hate me. 
  • I am an Ambassador of the cross, and must deliver the message. 
  • I shall pour my life out to reach my family, my friends, my neighbors and my city. 
  • I embrace the shame of the cross, and I fear nothing but God. 
  • I welcome suffering, shame, persecution, beatings, imprisonments and death, but I will not be silenced.
  • If I am killed, I pray that my blood should be a harvest for souls.
  • This is my calling, I dare not do less.
While we remember the gift given during this season may we consider the cost of receiving so great a salvation.