L'Abri Journals...ACGray

September 2001
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Giving New Meaning to 911...


So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

            Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant


The heavens are telling the glory of God, and all creation stands witness to the wonder of His work.  Seasons come and go, years roll by, centuries pass, and ages fade into the dim distant past, while life and truth go on forever but this day and hour in which we live is as surely a part of eternity as will be another day and hour a hundred or a thousand years hence.  Richard L. Evans, Unto the Hills

LAbri @ Massanutten,September 13, 2001

A page from my journal...acg


On the morning of September 11 (engraving indelibly in history the emergency number 911), I was preparing to speak to the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community about my books.  I had neither turned on television that morning, nor had I listened to the radio.  When I arrived at the VMRC, I was informed of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  A sudden quiet control stole over me for I knew that I had already included in my opening remarks this sentence from page 114 of my book:

If my journeys around the globe have taught me anything, they have shown me that life makes sense only when Jesus is Lord.  At the end of my talk, I would share with them a paragraph from E. Stanley Jones autobiography, written near the end of his long life:  So will men listen?  They will have to for if you wont listen to Christ, you have to listen to chaos, within and without.  If you wont listen to Christ, you will probably have to listen to disordered nerves, to stomach ulcers, to frustrated relationships, to a growing sense of emptiness and meaninglessness in life. On the other hand, if you do listen to Christ, you will listen to calm and quieted nerves, to inner peace in body and soul, to harmonious relationships, to a growing sense of the meaningfulness of life, to a sense of spiritual and physical well-being, to a sense of Life.  More than ever, these are times when our world needs to listen to Christ.

          Once more the lyrics of that old September song float through my conscience:  the days grow short, when we reach September.   In His providence, the great Creator saw to it that there were flowers unique for all the seasons.  Now comes the season for mums, and last evening I planted two more magnificent specimens of deep pink.  Along with the well-seasoned blossoms of those planted before my time here, they now begin to eclipse the rapidly fading gloriosa (black-eyed susans) and Echinacea (cone flowers), and take their hour upon the stage.  Meditating on my garden and beholding the solid magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the East, these reassuring words of Deuteronomy ring with new meaning:  But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:  A land which the Lord thy God careth for:  the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

          These days I have been reading Lin Yutangs insightful autobiography From Pagan to Christian.  By way of what he describes as a long detour, Yutang came to fully embrace the Christian faith near the end of his life.  I found these words especially meaningful in his final chapter:  "Blow out the candles!  The sun is up!  said a great recluse philosopher when Emperor Yao mounted the throne.  Such is the natural imagery when mankind sees an incomparable light.  The world of Jesus is the world of sunlight by comparison with that of all the sages and philosophers and schoolmen of any country.  Like the Jungfrau which stands above the glaciers in the world of snow and seems to touch heaven itself, Jesus teachings have that immediacy and clarity and simplicity which puts to shame all other efforts of mens minds to know God or to inquire after God.  Then he quotes the French scholar Ernest Renan:  For thousands of years the world will extol Thee.  Banner of our contradictions, thou wilt be the sign around which will be fought the fiercest battles.  A thousand times more living, a thousand times more loved since Thy deathThou wilt become to such a degree the corner-stone of humanity, that to tear Thy name from the world would be to shake it to its foundations."

  Letters mingle souls...John Donne


Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  I Peter 5:6