Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Faith to Proclaim

I arrived at the retreat house on my ordination retreat and found a now treasured letter from a dear friend sitting on the table in the hall. It is now safely in my journal and I read it from time to time and it is probably in truth due a re-read. I had also brought the book my friend had given to me to read over the three days of silence that were to follow. It was a book published in 1953 and these are its opening words and they seem as relevant today, if not more so, than when they were first written. I am sure Franklin Small might agree, having witnessed some of our spiritual poverty and hopelessness first hand in the Cotswolds.

'To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come
To an older place than Eden
And a taller place than Rome
To the end of the way to the wandering star
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home'

G K Chesterton, The House of Christmas

'Today as never before there is being laid upon the heart and conscience of the Church the burden of evangelism. Other generations have had there own specific tasks: confessional restatement, theological reorientation, ecclesiastical reconstruction. Today the demand is more radical and basic. It is spiritual resurrection: it is -under God- the creating of life. To confront a bewildered and dishevelled age with the fact of Christ and smite its disenchantment with the glory of the Resurrection- this is the urgent, overruling task. "Son of man, can these bones live?"

There is therefore, no place to-day for a Church that is not aflame with the Spirit who is the Lord the Giver of life, nor any value in a theology which is not passionately missionary. If there throbs through the Church the vitality of a living union with Christ- and apart from this the Church has no claim to exist, no right to preach, it is merely cumbering ground- if the Church can indeed say "It is not I who live, it is Christ who lives in me, " then the dark demonic forces of the age have met their match, and the thrust of life is stronger than the drift of death. A church that knows its Lord and is possessed by its Gospel cannot but propagate creatively the life that it has found. A Christian who is taking his faith seriously cannot but evangelize'

A Faith to Proclaim, James S Stewart, Pages 11-12

1 comment:

At the Head of the Valley said...

I would like to know what happened after Franklin Small returned home.