Pastoral Relief and Retreat

My photo
Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

Pages

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

James 1:24

"for he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."

I don't know about you, but I've never really liked my looks that much. I think there are a lot of people who feel that way. I could stand in front of the mirror all day and I'd never be quite convinced THAT is something handsome. I suppose that's what they call "self-image". The fact is that the more and longer I stand in front of the mirror, the more I DON'T like what I see. And the more deeply I don't like it. Oh, it isn't just the visage I'm taking in. It is the accumulation of moments and days and choices and experiences that I see when I gaze at this particular face. I just don't like being confronted by it.

So I turn my face away as quickly as I can after brushing my teeth, and I "forget" what I've seen. It isn't actually true that I forget. It is more like I choose to forget because looking at all those choices and actions and decisions begins to be like looking into the face of God. The ancients believed that if you did meet God face to face you would die because Sin cannot live in the presence of a holy God.

But I WILL look at one or the other. The more I look at my face (ie: the more I focus on myself and my troubles), the more awful I will feel about what I'm seeing. The more I look at the face of Christ, the more awe-struck I will become in his presence.

"It is a serious thing, to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously -- no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner -- no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment."

--C. S. Lewis, From The Weight of Glory.

I need to conform myself to being one of those everlasting splendors. And the only way I can is by looking intently into the mirror and not walking away, lest I forget.

Jon

No comments: