From the Bruderhof today...

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....a thought worth thinking:

Elisabeth Elliot

Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last. Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others. Above all, do something for somebody else!

I really like Elisabeth Elliot. She used to have a radio show on one of the Christian radio stations around here. She was so sensible about so many things, so loving. Her program began with a few lines from that Protestant classic hymn, Everlasting Arms. I love that.

One of the things that she was very much in favor of (and with which I heartily agree) was having children memorize hymns. It was her opinion that #1, the memorization was good for them and #2, a good hymn has concise theology, easy to remember and #3, that in times of trouble or sorrow, having these things memorized would provide strength and comfort.

This is why all those stupid hymns so prevalent today (but not at St. Mary's thank goodness) are a tragedy. First, they are no challenge to memorize. Second, they are theologically suspect. Third, they aren't very comforting. In an hour of pain, "Eagles Wings" stands no contest to "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Sorry, it just doesn't.


Years ago -- maybe when I was in college getting a minor in religion -- I learned that "A Mighty Fortress..." was set to the tune of an old German drinking song. So in my head, every time I hear that hymn, I think "Swig!" at the end of every line, when there is a musical pause. "A might fortress is our God...(swig!)...A bulwark never failing...(swig!)..." etc.

That also reminds me of our pentacostal days, when the church we went to sang "worship choruses." One of them had a line that went, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are saved." But the way the tune was written, it dragged out "" and for some reason, that always made me think of righteous people running around and bonking their heads on a stone tower, (running into) instead of people running inside of it. I could never sing that song with a straight face.

Sorry, I'm in a weird mood today.

shall we gather at the river? just kiddin'.

it's unfortunate that even the theology of some of our beloved hymns -- especially those written during the protestant reformation -- are theologically suspect.

my personal favorite is actually one of the simplest. Jesus Loves Me. it's gotten me through countless valleys and quenched many a dry bone.

I love my loneliness, it is the only thing that I can call my it gives me more time to contemplate God!

Belesarius, I'd just caution not to get to attached to it! God has a funny way of making those who love it popular and busy. Just think of those desert monks who had people follow them out to the desert!

Seriously, I think there are good uses for "loneliness" or "aloneness". But I think, in general, it is only for a season. Most of us weren't meant to be lonely for long.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on May 25, 2004 7:24 AM.

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