Sometimes a simple mental image can stick with you better than a thousand words. I like this one from Mother Teresa:
"Your work on behalf of God’s kingdom will be better carried out if you know how he wants you to carry it out, but you will have no way of knowing that, other than by obedience to his word. Submit to it, just like ivy. Ivy cannot live if it does not hold fast to something; you will not grow or live in holiness unless you hold fast to obedience."
More thoughts on the road to the Cross. The encounters Jesus had (actually during the crucifixion!) at Calvary were very brief and very powerful. The following is a quote from Fulton Sheen on the exchange between Jesus and the thief on the cross beside him.
"A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life; a man without possessions asked a poor man for a kingdom.…In the divine plan it was a thief who was the escort of the King of kings into paradise. If our Lord had come merely as a teacher, the thief would never have asked for forgiveness. But since the thief’s request touched the reason of his coming to earth, namely, to save souls, the thief heard the immediate answer. “I promise thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). It was the thief’s last prayer, perhaps even his first. He knocked once, sought once, asked once, dared everything, and found everything. When even the disciples were doubting and only one was present at the cross, the thief owned and acknowledged him as Savior."
The recent eclipse serves as a reminder that the heavens declare the glory of God, and that we do well to take notice in wonder and worship. The following is from Philip Britts, a 20th century British anabaptist writer, farmer and poet. He calls us to retain our childlike wonder as we see the power of God in a thunderstorm, or observe the miracle of the sea of grain growing in the fields.
"A young child believes in miracles, as a natural or normal part of life, because it sees the miracle in everything. And in that seeing, that seeing of miracles, to which our older eyes have become dim, the child is very near to God. Verily, unless we become as a little child, we cannot see the kingdom of God. Let us beware then of doing anything that can pull any child away from its vision, away from God. If ever we find that we have no time for the children, that we are too busy to talk to them, or too tired, let us consider well what is that business we are about--is it really more vital than to share time with a child, is it really more our Father's business?"
Pastor Ward Parkinson