I’ve been chewing on these thought for the last week, well since thanksgiving.
There is a line in a John Foreman song that has both intrigued me and given me hope… It goes something like, “it takes a long time to kill a man, 55 years at least.”
John Wesley wrote a book entitled A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, i’ve read this little book a few times and at different times i think it has shaped my thinking in some different but really good ways. In the book, he is making his case for “Christian Perfection” or being perfected in love while he is in a conversation with a fictional someone. This someone asks a question about this work of perfection being completed in 2 people and if those 2 people had a kid, would the kid be born without sin. Now it’s been awhile but if i remember correctly Wesley’s answer seems to imply that it would be rather miraculous for people young enough to have kids to be perfected in love as he is talking about.
Maybe Wesley would say something like, “It takes a long time to perfect a man, 55 years at least.”
The issue is dying to your self and letting the love of Christ throughly have it’s way in your life. That can be understood in some pretty particular ways, as it is for my Nazarene friends but the same issue of holiness and walking in love is also understood in some very profound, all be it different, ways for my reformed friends.
The bottom line, no matter how you understand it, is that we all need to die to our selfs, to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus on this “decent into greatness” as Kierkegaard would say.
This conversation has been on my mind since thanksgiving because i think a key to this journey after Jesus is gratitude, truly being thankful for the gifts we have been given and the way that has been laid before us.
Maybe gratitude is one of the keys to this dying thing that i haven’t really embraced like i should. I’m talking about an intentional gratitude, the kind of gratitude that you have all year but it’s so valuable and such a huge deal that you take a day and make it a holiday! You celebrate it by gathering around tables and feasting on all your favorite foods and drinks! A kind of gratitude that reminds us of all we have been given and the kind of party that lets the giver of these gifts know just how much you are thankful.
This is the kind of death that Jesus is drawing us into, it’s the journey of making us more like himself and it’s at its best on a day like thanksgiving, or at least it should be.
Thanksgiving and gratitude… keys to death? I think so.
Grace and peace