L'Abri Journals...ACGray

Late Winter 2003
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Winter Wanes....

Chalet LAbri, February 18, 2003


Repentance is always the place to begin with God.  A change of mind, a different way of thinking about yourself, about the way you have been and the way you are acting and what your needs are, an acknowledgment of guilt and your need before God that is repentance, and that is always where God always meets man.     Ray Stedman, from a Sermon, The Place to Begin.


        We are recovering from the good fortune of the heaviest snowstorm in several years.  For the past two days I have been digging out from eighteen inches of snow.  Elsewhere in our Shenandoah Valley the snowfall measured thirty inches.    I claim good fortune because the benefits of a heavy snow cover have long been known  -- to penetrate the good earth with needed moisture, lubricating and enriching all life.  At my feeders, not a sign of a squirrel for the past four days, so juncos, chickadees, and titmice rejoice exceedingly and make merry.

        Confinement brings opportunity to read, redeeming the time.  For the second time since my college days, I am reading Tolstoys Resurrection.  The theme of this novel is repentance, which coincides with my study of Marks gospel and the life story of John the Baptist, that strange and wonderful ministry which zeroes in on the need for repentance as the place where new life begins.  Tolstoy tells the story of a privileged and wealthy Russian prince who through a spiritual right-about-face discovers the blessed joy of a new beginning, resurrected from a dead existence of living entirely for himself.   Marks gospel emphasizes the incomparable good news of the coming of Jesus.  So wrote  Halford E. Luccock more than a half century ago in The Interpreters Bible:  It was good news when it was first proclaimed.  It moved up and down the country roads of Galilee and the city streets of Jerusalem, and men and women were made whole.  Jesus said, Follow me, and men gladly followed Him, their life deepened with new truth and enlarged with new purpose.  It was good news as it went out to the hard Roman world in the first century.  Down into the ghettos and slums of Greek and Roman cities, where life was bound with every conceivable chain, the good news came with a proclamation that lifted men to their feet. It has been good news down through the centuries, out through all the nooks and corners of the globe, until it reaches the last outpost on earth.  Tolstoy richly portrays what great joy a resurrected conscience of God brought to a Russian prince.  The novel is autobiographical because Tolstoy himself came from a wealthy, privileged family.  The lesson applies: I, too, need repentance --daily in my earnest pursuit of that same deepened life and new faith.   


Fully functioning persons have a deep sense of spirituality.  They know that their personhood and the world in which they live cannot be explained or understood through human experience alone.  They know that they must make the mystical leap.  They must go beyond themselves, beyond their limited reality.  They have an inexplicable sense of something more.  They feel a greater operative intellect than their own, even if they are at a loss to give it a name.  They are aware of a great design, incessantly operative, in which all is compatible and in which there are no contradictions.       Leo Buscaglia, Personhood

Jesus looked at them and said:  "With man this is impossible, but not with God;  all things are possible with God."  Mark 10:27