On Christian “Personalities”

There are many in the church today like those the Lord mentioned who love the best seats, etc., etc.  Many years ago, there was apparently an complaint in a religious paper that “Christian workers” weren’t receiving enough honor.  Amy Carmichael wrote a poem responding to all such fleshly pride.

MEDALS AND HONORS?

Medals and lighted titles?  Who but is ashamed
That such, for such as we, should ever be claimed
As our just due?  Perish the paltry plea,
The sordid thought.  Oh how little, how little have we
Done for our kind; that little, how faultily.
And yet what joy to do it!  Has the day
When “The Offscouring of All Things” could be
An apostle’s title wholly passed away?

Ah, but if one among us covets famed
Great Orders – recognitions – let him lay
Close to his heart two ancient words, and say
Them over and over till he be
Somewhat attuned to them:  Gethsemane
The first:  the second, Calvary.

Advertisements

The Beautiful Snow, 2014

Last year, I started the custom of reposting this to mark the first snowfall of the winter.  With a few changes, it’s essentially the same post that I’ve done twice before, except that this time I put the poem first and all the background material second.  Also, I added “2014” to the title to distinguish this post from the others.

Whether you’ve read this poem before, or this is your first time, I hope it’s a blessing to you.

Oh!  The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below.
Over the housetops and over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
Dancing,
Flirting,
Skimming along.
Beautiful snow!  It can do no wrong;
Flying along to kiss a fair lady’s cheek,
Clinging to lips in frolicsome freak;
Beautiful snow from heaven above,
Pure as an angel, gently as love!

Oh!  The snow, the beautiful snow,
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go
Whirling about in maddening fun,
It plays in its glee with everyone:
Chasing,
Laughing,
Hurrying by,
It lights on the face and it sparkles the eye;
And the dogs with a bark and a bound
Snap at the crystals as they eddy around;
The town is alive, and the heart is aglow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow.

How the wild crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song;
How the gay sleighs like meteors flash by,
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye:
Ringing,
Swinging,
Dashing they go,
Over the crest of the beautiful snow;
Snow so pure as it falls from the sky,
To be trampled in time by the crowd rushing by –
To be trampled and tracked by thousands of feet
Till it blends with the horrible filth on the street.

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell,
Fell like a snowflake from heaven to hell;
Fell to be trampled as filth in the street,
Fell to be scoffed at, to be spit on and beat.
Pleading,
Cursing,
Dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy;
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God!  Have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like the beautiful snow!

Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like a crystal, a heart like its glow;
Once I was loved for my innocent grace –
Flattered and sought for the charm of my face!
Father,
Mother,
Sisters – all,
God and myself I have lost by my fall.
The veriest wretch that goes shivering by,
Will make a wide sweep lest I wander too nigh.
For all that is on or above me I know,
There is nothing that’s pure but the beautiful snow.

How strange it should be that this beautiful snow
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it should be when the night comes again
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain!
Fainting,
Freezing,
Dying alone,
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for a moan
To be heard in the crash of the crazy town:
To be and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow.
_______

The poem ended there.  Later, a Christian added the following:

Helpless and foul as the trampled snow,
Sinner, despair not!  Christ stoopeth low
To rescue the soul that is lost in sin,
And raise it to life and and enjoyment again.
Groaning,
Bleeding,
Dying for thee.
The Crucified hung on the accursed tree!
His accents of mercy fall soft on thine ear,
There is mercy for thee; He will hear thy weak prayer:
“O God, in the stream that for sinners did flow,
Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

There are several versions of who actually wrote the poem.  The main one seems to be that it was written by Joseph Warren (Whitaker?) Watson.  It’s found among his published poems.  Perhaps he did write it.  I really don’t know, although the poem is written in the first person.  Unless Mr. Watson had a really vivid imagination, I find it hard to believe that he “dealt in shame for a morsel of bread.”  It’s certainly possible that he wrote the last stanza.

The background from years ago that I remember about the poem I found again in avisoland.blogspot, dated March 26, 2011.  Briefly, here it is:

In the early part of the Civil War, a young woman of 22 or so died at the Commercial Hospital in Cincinatti, Ohio.  She had once been beautiful, but a hard and dissolute life had written another story on what had been a fair countenance.

This poem was found among her belongings.  It was given to the editor of the National Union, where it was printed for the first time.  When the paper came out, the girl hadn’t yet been buried.  A noted American author (some sites say Walt Whitman) was impressed with the poem and followed her to her burial.

Perhaps this is the first time you’ve read the poem, or it may be a second or third time, and you’re feeling a little like the poor young woman who wrote the poem: abandoned and helpless.  So far as we know, though there are varying thoughts about it, this lady died without the Lord Jesus.  You, though, have an opportunity.  The Lord says to you, “Come.”  The Spirit says to you, “Come.”  I say to you, “Come.”  Come to the Lord Jesus just as you are.  You don’t have to dress up or clean up or shape up.  You just have to ‘fess up.  With all your discouragement, your depression, your depravity, just come.  “But,” you say, “You don’t know me, or what I’ve done.”  That’s all right.  He does.  And He died for such as you, anyway.  And me.  He didn’t die for the “good people;” He died for sinners.  That’s all you have to be to come to Him.  O, that you might do it today.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, Acts 16:31.

Jehovah-Jireh: The LORD Will Provide

Genesis 22:14.

(Written by Wm. Cowper, who also wrote “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood.”)

The saints should never be dismay’d,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His aid,
The Saviour will appear.

This Abraham found:  he raised the knife;
God saw, and said, “Forbear!
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life;
Behold the victim there.”

Once David seem’d Saul’s certain prey;
But hark! the foe’s at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.

When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.

Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.

Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait:
The promise may be long delay’d,
But cannot come too late.

He Maketh No Mistake

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.

Tho’ night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break;
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

–A. M. Overton

I’m doing some research for another post and decided to look in my Grandmother’s Teacher’s Edition Smith’s Bible Dictionary (copyright 1884!)  How many books in other fields that old are still relevant!?

As I opened the book, it fell open at a whole bunch of clippings and notes in my Grandmother’s writing.  There was a picture of a friend of hers, whom I remember from long ago, celebrating her 91st birthday.  On the back of this clipping is part of an article titled “Servicemen Reminded of Social Security Law Amendments.”  There’s not enough of the article to know what it’s about, but I guess some things even in this world never change.  (Though, of course, they do.)

There’s a verse in the Old Testament that I can’t remember the reference and can’t find it in my Strong’s Concordance.  Probably I don’t remember it quite right.  It goes something like this:  God is talking to Israel about their future and tells them that there’s coming a time when they will understand that there was a cause [reason] for everything He did to and with them.  They will understand that “He made no mistake.”

May these verses bless you in reading as they blessed me in typing.

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision. O Lord of my heart –
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night –
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word –
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son –
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise –
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart –
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

This 8th century Irish hymn is one of my favorites.

Additional, later edit:

There’s actually another, not so well-known, verse in this popular 1912 rendition by Eleanor Hull.  It would be v. 3, so the vs. 3 and 4 we know become vs. 4 and 5.  Wikipedia has some fascinating information on this hymn.  Here is the additional verse:

Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight.
Be thou my whole armour, be Thou my true might.
Be Thou my soul’s shelter, be Thou my strong tower.
O raise Thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

My Joy, My God, My All

from Habakkuk 3:17-18.

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vine;
Though the harvest of the olive fail,
And food be hard to find;
Though the flock may come to nothing
And no oxen in the stall –
Yet I’ll rejoice in Yahweh,
My joy, my God, my All.

Oh, What A Happy Soul Am I

Oh, what a happy soul am I
Although I cannot see.
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don’t!
To weep and sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot, and I won’t!

– Fanny Crosby

This was written when she was eight years old!

*sigh*

How much this little girl teaches us!