Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fighting over Fathers things.

George Macdonald "Hope of the Gospel"   page 48

Here we find one main thing wherein the Lord differs from us: we are not
at home in this great universe, our father's house. We ought to be, and
one day we shall be, but we are not yet. This reveals Jesus more than
man, by revealing him more man than we. We are not complete men, we are
not anything near it, and are therefore out of harmony, more or less,
with everything in the house of our birth and habitation. Always
struggling to make our home in the world, we have not yet succeeded. We
are not at home in it, because we are not at home with the lord of the
house, the father of the family, not one with our elder brother who is
his right hand. It is only the son, the daughter, that abideth ever in
the house. When we are true children, if not the world, then the
universe will be our home, felt and known as such, the house we are
satisfied with, and would not change. Hence, until then, the hard
struggle, the constant strife we hold with _Nature_--as we call the
things of our father; a strife invaluable for our development, at the
same time manifesting us not yet men enough to be lords of the house
built for us to live in. We cannot govern or command in it as did the
Lord, because we are not at one with his father, therefore neither in
harmony with his things, nor rulers over them. Our best power in regard
to them is but to find out wonderful facts concerning them and their
relations, and turn these facts to our uses on systems of our own. For
we discover what we seem to discover, by working inward from without,
while he works outward from within; and we shall never understand the
world, until we see it in the direction in which he works making
it--namely from within outward. This of course we cannot do until we are
one with him. In the meantime, so much are both we and his things his,
that we can err concerning them only as he has made it possible for us
to err; we can wander only in the direction of the truth--if but to find
that we can find nothing.

Think for a moment how Jesus was at home among the things of his
father. It seems to me, I repeat, a spiritless explanation of his
words--that the temple was the place where naturally he was at home.
Does he make the least lamentation over the temple? It is Jerusalem he
weeps over--the men of Jerusalem, the killers, the stoners. What was his
place of prayer? Not the temple, but the mountain-top. Where does he
find symbols whereby to speak of what goes on in the mind and before the
face of his father in heaven? Not in the temple; not in its rites; not
on its altars; not in its holy of holies; he finds them in the world and
its lovely-lowly facts; on the roadside, in the field, in the vineyard,
in the garden, in the house; in the family, and the commonest of its
affairs--the lighting of the lamp, the leavening of the meal, the
neighbour's borrowing, the losing of the coin, the straying of the
sheep. Even in the unlovely facts also of the world which he turns to
holy use, such as the unjust judge, the false steward, the faithless
labourers, he ignores the temple. See how he drives the devils from the
souls and bodies of men, as we the wolves from our sheepfolds! how
before him the diseases, scaly and spotted, hurry and flee! The world
has for him no chamber of terror. He walks to the door of the sepulchre,
the sealed cellar of his father's house, and calls forth its four days
dead. He rebukes the mourners, he stays the funeral, and gives back the
departed children to their parents' arms. The roughest of its servants
do not make him wince; none of them are so arrogant as to disobey his
word; he falls asleep in the midst of the storm that threatens to
swallow his boat. Hear how, on that same occasion, he rebukes his
disciples! The children to tremble at a gust of wind in the house! God's
little ones afraid of a storm! Hear him tell the watery floor to be
still, and no longer toss his brothers! see the watery floor obey him
and grow still! See how the wandering creatures under it come at his
call! See him leave his mountain-closet, and go walking over its heaving
surface to the help of his men of little faith! See how the world's
water turns to wine! how its bread grows more bread at his word! See how
he goes from the house for a while, and returning with fresh power,
takes what shape he pleases, walks through its closed doors, and goes up
and down its invisible stairs!

All his life he was among his father's things, either in heaven or in
the world--not then only when they found him in the temple at Jerusalem.
He is still among his father's things, everywhere about in the world,
everywhere throughout the wide universe. Whatever he laid aside to come
to us, to whatever limitations, for our sake, he stooped his regal head,
he dealt with the things about him in such lordly, childlike manner as
made it clear they were not strange to him, but the things of his
father. He claimed none of them as his own, would not have had one of
them his except through his father. Only as his father's could he enjoy
them;--only as coming forth from the Father, and full of the Father's
thought and nature, had they to him any existence. That the things were
his fathers, made them precious things to him. He had no care for
having, as men count having. All his having was in the Father. I wonder
if he ever put anything in his pocket: I doubt if he had one. Did he
ever say, 'This is mine, not yours'? Did he not say, 'All things are
mine, therefore they are yours'? Oh for his liberty among the things of
the Father! Only by knowing them the things of our Father, can we escape
enslaving ourselves to them. Through the false, the infernal idea of
_having_, of _possessing_ them, we make them our tyrants, make the
relation between them and us an evil thing. The world was a blessed
place to Jesus, because everything in it was his father's. What pain
must it not have been to him, to see his brothers so vilely misuse the
Father's house by grasping, each for himself, at the family things! If
the knowledge that a spot in the landscape retains in it some pollution,
suffices to disturb our pleasure in the whole, how must it not have been
with him, how must it not be with him now, in regard to the
disfigurements and defilements caused by the greed of men, by their
haste to be rich, in his father's lovely house!