Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Underhill: from ethics to love

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
    Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
    He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
    Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
    —Matthew 12:9-15 (NIV)
    “Books,” said St. Augustine after his conversion, “could not teach me charity.” We still keep on thinking they can. We do not realize ... the utter distinctness of God and the things of God. Psychology of religion can not teach us prayer, and ethics cannot teach us love. Only Christ can do that, and He teaches by the direct method, in and among the circumstances of life. He does not mind about our being comfortable. He wants us to be strong, able to tackle life and be Christians, be apostles in life, so we must be trained by the ups and downs, the rough and tumble of life. Team games are compulsory in the school of Divine Love; there is no getting into a corner with a nice, spiritual book.
    ... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Light of Christ, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 53 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 12:9-15; Eccl. 12:12; Matt. 7:22-23; 21:28-32; Luke 13:14-17; 14:3-6; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:19
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, too often I reject the lessons You place before me in life. Alert my heart to Your teaching each day.
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