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SUMMONED TO THE SUMMIT: HALLS & HILLSIDES


 

IMPORTANT CALENDAR CORRECTION!

Julie Cooper Birthday Party!

Come join a celebration of our own Julie Cooper, which by happenstance lands on her birthday! There will be games, food, fellowship, and other such joys at their home, Casa de Cooper, this Saturday, 16th of September, starting at 1:00 in the afternoon. No gifts, please, as it will be a catered event.

 

LIVING WORDS:

“ I should be dissatisfied with a religion that was a pageant of nature; for I feel the soul, in Sir Thomas Browne’s noble phrase, as something other than the elements, that owes no homage unto the sun. But I am much more dissatisfied with a man, pretending to be a man of culture, who merely despises the ritual. I can never see a pageant of harvest without feeling that it is religious, and it gratifies me to think that I am feeling like the first Emperor of China. I call that being the heir of all ages.


—G.K. Chesterton: "On Man: Heir of All Ages"

 

There exists something of a commonplace gaff within the high halls of Evangelical America, a false dichotomy between 'bona fide' spiritual institutions and the surrounding landscapes of life—a division between Sacred and Secular, the halls and the hills. And while the halls often glow with hallowed reverence, the hills are rather easily trampled while our eyes are fixed firmly on the halls.


It is natural to bristle at word "secular," but properly used, refers only the apparently non-church components of one's business—job, groceries, repairing the bikes, road trips, letting the dog outside, and dinner settings. It may very well be that this very act of distancing of ourselves from the Secular helped to give rise to Secular-ism as a godless philosophy, but those are thoughts for another day. A man might leave a service hour at his local house-of-worship, and feel that he is emerging into a space devoid of spiritual meaning or presence as he goes about his work, and can only extend the nobility of his time by transitioning into vocational ministry, signing his name on short-term trips, or at least cutting many a check, so that he feels his earthly labors are laying up those ballyhooed treasures in heaven that the preacher talked about, and not being squandered upon the mortgage. He may even come to believe that he stands at lesser value than those devoting their lives to The Cause more overtly.


But The Cause is as broad as the halls and the hills, for both were moulded by the same Maker.


The God of the Bible is a God of small things, as well as cosmic things. It was the Gnostics who made so plain the hated division between the measures of the soil and the measures of the soul, a stronghold that Saint Paul was swift to raze to the earth whenever encountered, and Christ Himself condemned Pharisees for endorsing the taking of one's inheritance from their family and handing it to the synagogues.


As Sir Thomas Brown had "nobly" phrased (as Chesterton put it), the soul is something other than the elements, yet it certainly contacts them often enough. Just ask a gardener. God too is a gardener, a city planner, a mathematician, and (rumor has it), a carpenter, from time to time. He delights in the smallest of things, so long as the heart behind them pours over with joy and thanksgiving, for the division has never been between the halls and the hills, the soil and the soul, but between the chambers of the heart. Be of good cheer! The off-key hymns sung on hillsides, knuckle-deep in garden soil, are no less pleasing to our Maker than those sung in grander halls with melodic tongues, knuckle-deep in a bulletin.


 

"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again'; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

—G.K. Chesterton: "Ethics of Elfland"


 

ON THE HORIZON AT LWF:

Fall Youth Studies

It'll soon (seriously ... soon) be time to once again kick off our fall Sunday School and Inheritors studies on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Stay tuned to Living Words for more updates!


Until next time! God go with you, brothers and sisters in Christ.


~Holly





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