to obey

To obey is difficult. Obedience seemed to be the theme at church this morning. In my Sunday school class, we talked about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts. Philip heard the Lord say go toward the south. “And he rose and went.” (10:27a). He simply went. Later, “Go over and join this [the Ethiopian’s] chariot.” (10:29b). Simple as that. Philip obeyed, not knowing where he was going or what was supposed to happen. And he ended up sharing the love of Christ with someone who gladly received it.

A guest speaker in the worship service, a very prominent scholar, shared his testimony of converting from Islam to Christianity. I don’t remember exactly what part of his story he was referring to when he said this, but he said, “You cannot live joyfully without obeying the Lord.”

It’s true. There is often a lack of joy in my life, specifically in the area of vocation, because I don’t obey the Lord. What is so difficult for me about obeying Him is this: I don’t know for sure what He is telling me to do. I think I have some ideas, but what if I do the wrong thing? What if it’s my own will I’m following? I know I will end up where He wants me, because I believe He is sovereign. I pray He will help me recognize His will. He wants me to. He is for me.

In Philip’s case, he didn’t really throw a fit or have an anxiety party. He just went. I suppose I am more like Moses or Jeremiah, who threw up the “but’s”, but eventually obeyed. I’m glad the Bible is full of imperfect people.

the remains of the day and some c.s.

Do you know Kazuo Ishiguro? He has written two well-known novels (and probably many more): The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. The latter is relatively recent – 2005, I think. I had to read it for a world lit class in college – and loved it. I reread it recently, prompted by the movie version that came out late last year. Oh, how I’m dying to see it! Of course, it didn’t play in theaters here. I’m from a relatively small town. It has its advantages and disadvantages, and this has always been one of the worst disses.

And now, I am reading Remains. It’s the story of an English butler in the 1950s, looking back on his life and his career, a career he takes great pride in.

I really say all of this because I want to share a new word I learned from it. It’s a word we all know. August. No, no, it is not just a month. It is also an adjective. Exciting, eh? The line reads,

Of course, I had heard these same sentiments expressed by his lordship on many occasions before, but such was the depth of conviction with which he spoke in this august setting that I could not help but be moved afresh.”

Doesn’t it make you want to read the book? Ah. Well, here’s what august as an adjective means, as it is used above: “inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic”.

Also, a quote from C.S. Lewis that I read yesterday, and have read before, and really need to read every day because I am such a pride-puppy when it comes to my artistic tastes (obviously – see above). What a snob I can be. Barf.

A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.”