Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Mind Dump That Leaves One Empty?

So, this week we looked at the song 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' by U2, as we are walking toward Easter. Needless to say, it has been an interesting journey, even a tough one for me, in attempting to bridge culture and faith. The amount of emails and texts following the life lesson also, has been, that got me is a quote....

"I have never found anyone, however religious and devout, who did not sometimes experience withdrawal of grace, or feel a lessening of devotion. And no Saint has ever lived, however lightly rapt and enlightened, who did not suffer temptation sooner or later. For he is not worthy of high contemplation who has not suffered some trials for God’s sake. Indeed, the temptation that precedes is often a sign of comfort to follow. For heavenly comfort is promised to those who have been tried and tempted. ‘To him who overcomes,’ says God, ‘I will give to eat of the Tree of Life.’"

— Thomas A Kempis



Manetheren said...

Sorry, but I'm not seeing how the quote is related to the U2 sermon. I can't tell if this is a response to negative feedback or something entirely different. Would you care to expand on the connection?

SoulPastor said...

Let me say that this is not a response to negative feedback.

The issue comes down to the "withdrawl of grace" and how many people can relate to that statement.

Karen said...

1 a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b: a virtue coming from God c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

I'm not liking the "withdrawal of grace" comment. We may not always feel like God is around or pouring out blessings on us but I believe that his grace is not withdrawn even in those instances. Grace to me is about being treated better than I deserve and that is how I think God treats his children.

Suffering trials and temptations.....maybe God has a use for Satan after all. :) A Jewish rabbi voiced his opinion that Satan's role as an angel of God is significant for the very reason that thru those times of trials and temptations we have the opportunity to prove our faith and devotion to God. ....something to think about

Great sermon last Sunday, by the way.

Patrick said...

This is a heavy topic, something that has my first thoughts racing,"What's appropriate to share on a blog?" Because it's easy to say, "Yes, I've felt a withdrawl of grace and a lessoning of devotion". To say we have NEVER experienced this is to not be honest with ourselves isn't it? (Ummm, anyone heard of Job?) So the next thoughts are, aren't there details to admitting something like this that we should feel comfortable, or maybe even compelled to share? You know, the whole "Doing life together"?

Here's what resonated with me in the quote: "For he is not worthy of high contemplation who has not suffered some trials for God’s sake." I see this as the real brilliance of the quote, because Kempis takes the inevitable experience of withdrawl of grace, and articulates the fact that when we are in that place . . . we suffer.

I love the challenge implicit in the way Kempis closes off his thoughts, with the reminder of heavenly comfort. It's interesting that heavenly comfort is still at our disposal, EVEN in the midst of this place we are in where there is lessoning of devotion. But obviously RECEIVING that comfort is not a given, as we are reminded of God's promise to those who overcome . . . eating of the tree of life. We must receive, we must overcome, we must do SOMETHING . . . our volition is required.

So for me, the question isn't so much whether or not we relate to the statement . . . I believe if we're not dillusional about our faith we will all admit to living in that place for various periods of time.

Here's my dilema . . . how do we receive this heavenly comfort? Where does it come from? How much is MY responsibility, and how much can I truly rely on the BODY for when I'm in that place? To be very transparent . . . I struggle with even being party of a life group right now, or talking to anyone in any depth about these things . . . there's the tension between wanting to "straighten myself out", but knowing I REALLY need the body of Christ to get there.

Karl said...

When I first read the quote I struggled with the withdrawal of grace which to me would seem to violate the promise in Hebrews 13 of God never leaving or forsaking us.
In reading the whole chapter the quote came from I get the impression that the "grace" being withdrawn is not the unmerited favour from God. Before and after this quote Kempis talks about the "grace of consolation" which I take to mean the feeling of Gods presence. Which then makes his statement about not knowing a saint who has not experienced a withdrawal of grace make more sense.

You can read the whole chapter here
The quote comes from Chapter 9.

Karen said...

Thanks for looking into that Karl. It helps to read the complete thought of the author to put it in the proper perspective.