Wednesday, May 16, 2007

one part of the nature of Christian growth/formation

If you haven't visited John Michael Talbot's blog, do so! The teaching posts are rich and helpful. And the other posts are good as well (I like the concept and practice of the hermitage and monasticism).

In one of his songs, The Sea/Laudable Exchange, with the words adapted from Clare of Assisi, are the lines:
Because* of this I have resolved
To always progress from good to better
To be faithful in his service
To always progress from virtue to virtue

*amounting to losing all things to gain eternal life
I found helpful a thought that came to my mind a couple days ago. I was consciously working on an issue of my heart and life and thought something like, let's aim for a little progress, small but real and substantial. The thought was answered and I saw real, substantial progress, even if indeed it was small.

I think this monastic thought does reflect God's call to us together in Jesus. That we are to follow on, adding to our faith, goodness, etc., working out with fear and trembling what God is working into our hearts and lives.

Our human minds are geared to do well at working on one thing at a time (at least my mind), though certainly God is at work in our lives, in a multiplicity of ways. So we need to do well with what is in front of us, in our lives, to seek to glorify God in seemingly small, incremental ways of growth in our lives, as we seek together to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.


Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for the link to Talbot's blog. I did not know he had one.

I remember seeing him in concert years ago not long after he became a monk. What an uplifting evening it was.

I have linked his blog on mine.

julie said...

I like to work on one thing at a time too. Tha is not a luxury afforded to me at this time. God is asking me to live what I believe in multiple area of my life at the same time. Yikes!!!

Ted Gossard said...

Allan, The concert he had here among mostly Catholics in the past was one of the most edifying concerts and Christ-centered ones I could remember (perhaps my favorite). Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Julie, Sounds like something akin to the Apostle Paul's experience when he said, "We're pressed on every side." Yes, I believe the Lord is at work in a multiplicity of ways in our lives. His work certainly involves our entire lives. Sometimes all of it hinges on something he is trying to teach us at a certain time. He wants us to learn that well before we go on.

I guess I'm looking at this more from our own limited perspective. Often I have to deal with something that's right in front of me or obvious to me. So I realize I need to work on that, maybe through the words of others (like my wife (:) or from Scripture, by the Spirit in God's community. And I think it good to be working on one or maybe just a few things at a time. Or it seems my life forces me or moves me to do that. Just a thought for what it's worth....

Thanks, and I'll be praying as I remember for you with the multiple responsibilities and concerns you have right now. I do identify with you there, though surely not as much as what you're encountering now.

Ted Gossard said...

Julie, I do think in reconsidering what I typed this morning, that the stress or consideration perhaps should have been fully on looking for small, incremental growth and change in our lives on a matter. Not on the idea of working at one thing at a time, which rather is beside the point in what I was thinking about when this came to mind that one day recently.