Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Inge: the source of joy

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
    Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
    We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
    —2 Corinthians 8:1-2 (ESV)
    Joy was a characteristic of the Christian community so long as it was growing, expanding, and creating healthfully. The time came when the Church ceased to grow, except externally in wealth, power, and prestige; and these are mere outward adornments, or hampering burdens, very likely. They do not imply growth, or creativeness. The time came when dogmatism, tyranny, and ignorance strangled the free intellectual activity of the Church, and worldliness destroyed its moral fruitfulness. Then Joy spread her wings and flew away. The Christian graces care nothing for names and labels; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there they abide, but not in great Churches that have forgotten Him. How little of Joy there is in the character of the religious bigot or fanatic, or in the prudent ecclesiastical statesman! A show of cheerfulness they may cultivate, as they often do; but it is like the crackling of thorns under a pot: we cannot mistake it for the joy of th! e Lord which is the strength of the true Christian.
    ... William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 66 (see the book)
    See also 2 Cor. 8:1-2; John 14:16-18; Acts 20:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:8-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I receive the joy of Your Spirit’s presence in my life and the church around me.
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