Sunday, February 27, 2011

People around me

I was reminded again of the ending part of Lewis's "The Weight of Glory": " All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations [meaning heaven or hell]....There are no ordinary people."  I know wrote about this before but it just seems so important and something I really lose track of.  There are no insignificant people.  I can't just dodge people I feel uncomfortable being around.  Another thing I've been thinking about is being in a Christian community.  At Calvin College, I have all these people who are like-minded in the sense that they are pursuing a relationship with God.  Bonhoeffer says, "It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians....It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day.  It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed.  Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God's grace from the bottom of his heart."   I have such an opportunity here, to fellowship, to have people to support me, and for me to support, to have this community.  I feel like I haven't been taking good advantage of that.  This is kind of a hard thing for me, stepping out and initiating but when will I have this same  blessing around me?

Here is a big excerpt from "The Weight of Glory".  I found reading it aloud helped it stick and grow in my mind.  Just let God speak to you in whatever way He wants.

"The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the back so f the proud will be broken.  It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.  All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.  There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilization - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.  This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.  We must play.  But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists  between people who have, from the the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.  And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner - no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.  Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.  If he your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."