I have been reading some poetry by Tennyson here and there the last few months. Here are a couple of my favorite stanzas (taken from The Suppressed Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson).
Love & Sorrow O maiden, fresher than the first green leaf With which the fearful springtide flecks the lea, Weep not, Almeida, that I said to thee That thou hast half my heart, for bitter grief Doth hold the other half in sovranty. Thou art my heart’s sun in love’s crystalline: Yet on both sides at once thou canst not shine: Thine is the bright side of my heart, and thine My heart’s day, but the shadow of my heart, Issue of its own substance, my heart’s night Thou canst not lighten even with thy light, All powerful in beauty as thou art. Almeida, if my heart were substanceless, Then might thy rays pass thro’ to the other side, So swiftly, that they nowhere would abide, But lose themselves in utter emptiness. Half-light, half-shadow, let my spirit sleep They never learnt to love who never knew to weep.
And this one from Taliessen:
Alas, Church writers, altercating tribes– The vessel and your Church may sink in storms. Christ cried: Woe, woe, to Pharisees and Scribes! Like them, you bicker less for truth than forms. I sorrow when I read the things you write, What unheroic pertness! what un-Christian spite! Alas, our youth, so clever yet so small, Thin dilletanti deep in nature’s plan, Who make the emphatic One, by whom is all, An essence less concentred than a man! Better wild Mahmoud’s war-cry once again! O fools, we want a manlike God and Godlike men!
Part 1 of 4
The early church lived and preached as though they were living in the last days. Two thousand years later, I’m doing the same. If you are reading this one hundred years after I wrote it (I’d be surprised), you should too!
Jesus is going to take His Church out of this world very soon. The question that I have is (maybe it is your question too) what are my marching orders as I see the day approaching?
As I wrote in “Warriors of Morning“, the answer is not to pack our bags and wait for Jesus to pick us up. Paul told us to that we should put on the armor of light when we see the day approaching (Rom. 13). This tells me that we should still be fighting when the Son splits the sky!
In Hebrews 10, Paul gives us some marching orders for when we see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:22-25 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is ; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
As I read Paul’s marching orders to the Church at the close of the Church age, I can’t help but notice how similar it is to actions of the Church immediately after its conception on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (holding fast the faith) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread (considering one another), and in prayers (drawing near to God).
Warriors of Morning fight like the Church has always fought. IT STILL WORKS!
John 4:37-38 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
As we read this Scripture, we naturally insert ourselves into the role of the reaper as this was the intent of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples. He was telling them that they were going to reap what someone else had sown. But consider for a second that if we will reap where another has sown, then someone is going to reap where we have sown. What sort of seed are you sowing for the future?
There is a mysterious brand of cafe that has recently begun to appear throughout Japan. They look like any other cafe, but there is a surprise in store for each patron. In a nutshell, you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets what you ordered. So you have to decide, are you going to be generous or are you going to be cheap. Either way, the person after you gets what you paid for.
The Church is presently enjoying the fruits of the labors of a generation that paid the price for Truth in blood, sweat, and tears. As I enjoy reaping these blessings for which I never labored, I am overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude to those who have preceded me in this wonderful Gospel. I am also incredibly challenged by the fact that someone will reap what I sowed. I hope that when they step up to reap what I have sown that they are as blessed as I have been.
Are you on Facebook (Link to my profile)? How many friends do you have? 50? 100? 500? 1,000? How many of them do you have meaningful interactions with on a regular basis? If I had to guess, I would say probably not very many. But I would also guess that at one time or another, you have compared yourself with others by how many friends you have on Facebook. (Don’t lie, you know you have)
At the time of this writing, I have 957 friends on Facebook. However, this fact is not reflected in my news feed. I have my settings fixed to show updates from all of my friends, but my news feed is usually consumed by posts from about 15% of my total number of friends. Most of these posts tell me what the weather is doing, what they just ate, or some other pointless and boring piece of information.
What’s the point? The point is that most of my “friends” aren’t tapping the power of the medium. They showed up, but showing up isn’t enough. They are there, but being there doesn’t add any value. Say something! Do something! Add some value!
Let me bring this to the Church. Showing up is not enough. It is easy for us to get into a rut of coming to church and going through the motions. We shake hands and say, “praise the Lord.” We clap our hands during the song. We pay or tithe. We listen to the preacher. We might even make it to the altar. But we can do all this and still not have anything change; we didn’t give anything and we didn’t get anything.
Don’t (just) go to church. BE THE CHURCH! Inside and outside the four walls. Before service, during service, and after service. At home, at work, and at school. Say something to encourage someone and glorify God. Do something that will be a blessing to others and please your Heavenly Father. Add some value! Give yourself. Give and it will come back.
Because showing up isn’t enough.