Regard not much who is for thee, or who against thee,
but give all thy thought and care to this,
that God be with thee in every thing thou doest.
Have a good conscience and God will well defend thee.
For whom God will help no malice of man shall be able to hurt.
If thou canst be silent and suffer,
without doubt thou shalt see that the Lord will help thee.
He knoweth the time and the manner to deliver thee,
and therefore thou oughtest to resign thyself unto Him.
It belongeth to God to help, and to deliver from all confusion.
Thomas a Kempis “Imitation of Christ” chapter 2
Michael hands me my copy of this text. I crack it open to the above lines. That’s called “Servage” he tells me. The experience of cracking open a book and finding words that speak to you.
“The Lord provides” I tell him.
He cracks open the copy of Nietsche’s “Will to Power” in his hand and comes out with a few lines about abundance. Giving with no thought of return.
Isn’t that the way GOD gives?
What does GOD expect in return for the good gifts laid on our pillows each morning? The promise of a new day. Sun’s rising power – hoping that we might see – and simply say thanks – and perhaps enter into the giving.
But first we have to convince ourselves that what we have to give is worth the effort of the giftwrapping. To package up a poem, a song, a prayer, a pan of lasagna (yum), a box of cookies (now I’m getting hungry), or to make that call….takes a certain confidence that we can trust the urge to give and risk the offering – without hope of a good reception.
“There’s no accounting for taste” they say.
The danger in any human grouping is that you have the strong and the weak. The strong want to pretend that they are stonger and the weak then become frightened and they lie down and become victims. So how to create situations where we can discover that our greatest gift is to help each one be - the powerful ones to discover there is something more beautiful in them that they haven’t yet discovered - their capacity to love. And the weaker, who in some way have been pushed down into the world of victims, that there’s something beautiful in them.
- Jean Vanier, Unpublished conversation with students,June 2007
How many gifts go wasted in a day for fear they will not be well received? How many hearts ache to give what’s inside but don’t dare try?
How many creations are breathed into life only to have the bubble burst by harsh words? How to create and put it out there without hope of either praise, pay, or even notice? How to give gladly even in the face of opposition and mistrust?
If I see that what I have to give comes from a source far away, not held in my hands, or controlled by my will, then why would I worry whether it is well received or not? It is given only to be passed along. The breath, the energy, the talent I put to it – while I lay claim to those as mine – come also from that same source don’t they?
After a Sunday service one morning I received a complaint delivered harshly. GOD gave me these words to say.
“Yeah, well, talk to GOD about it. That’s who gave it to me.”
And my friend Steve Clark years ago taught me also to say the same when people offer praise. To take the praise as if it belongs to me is to dishonour the source from where all good things come.
If our Soul has trembled with Happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all Eternity was needed to produce this one event and in this single moment of affirmation all Eternity was called Good, Redeemed, Justified and Affirmed.
Friedrich Nietzsche “Will to Power”
photos courtesy of Richard Choe's Wondergaze@blogspot.com
Thanks Richard. Keep them coming bro!