For years there has been a particular picture of a Native American Indian hanging in my study. It was given to me as a gift so long ago, I’m embarrassed to say, that I no longer remember who gave it to me. From the moment I saw it the picture and its caption captivated me. May this acknowledgement serve as a long overdue thank you to whomever was my benefactor.
The caption reads:
To give dignity to a man is above all things.
– Indian Proverb
That immediately struck a chord with something deep inside me. A value that has always guided me, but which I’d never previously had words to express. I’ve often pondered the aphorism over the years, but an entirely new aspect of its truth hit me recently.
It is safe to say that our society is woefully lacking in the bestowing of dignity one to another. But I have finally noticed an erosion of my own dignity over the last several years; an erosion that has ebbed in concert with the gradual loosening of self-discipline.
I’m just beginning to grasp the profundity of this connection between self-control and personal dignity. It is clear to me, however, that a society which devalues self-control and bitterly resents any efforts at external control will suffer from a woeful deficit of dignity. And anyone lacking personal dignity is practically incapable of giving it to another.
Because I’m committed to extending dignity to all I meet, I hereby resolve to renew the self-disciplines which I have let lapse over the preceding 12 years.
The concept of dignity and its connection to the image of God merits further exploration, so I will revisit this topic in the future.
Prayer needs fasting for its full growth. Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the other hand, the one with which we let go of the visible. In nothing is man more closely connected with the world of sense than in this need for, and enjoyment of, food. It was the fruit with which man was tempted and fell in Paradise. It was with bread that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. But He triumphed in fasting. . . .Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain the Kingdom of God. And Jesus, Who Himself fasted and sacrificed, knows to value, accept, and reward with spiritual power the soul that is thus ready to give up everything for Him and His Kingdom.
With Christ in the School of Prayer (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1981), p 100-101.
I’ve been going to church my entire life. I’ve been to Baptist churches, Bible churches, Evangelical Free churches, Presbyterian churches, Plymouth Brethren churches, non-denominational churches, Charismatic churches, Missionary churches and the list goes on, but before this morning I have never seen what I witnessed today.
This morning our family visited St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Ft. Wayne. The rector, Fr. Dan Layden, was on vacation and they don’t have a deacon, so they celebrated Morning Prayer instead of Holy Eucharist, which was nice actually as I really enjoy the Morning Prayer service.
Anyway, what struck me was that after collecting the offering they actually took it up to the altar and elevated it before the Lord! I couldn’t believe it; every church in the world should do this. The consciousness of bringing the Lord an offering was the most palpable I have ever experienced.
Just one more reason I so appreciate the Anglican Way. No other tradition has so well maintained an awareness of our connectedness to the Temple service, while also balancing the values highlighted by the Reformation.
This fulfilling of God’s law in loving others through the Spirit is rendered by faith, that is, by being satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ and him crucified—the perseverance of the same faith that justifies (Gal. 3:5; 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; Heb. 11:6, 24–26; 10:34).
Yes, it is rendered by faith and through faith, but it is critical to recall that the Hebrew word for “faith” and for “faithfulness” is emunah. One of the ways that the fulfillment of God’s law is rendered in us is by our obedience to it, in our walking.
…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
according to the Spirit, who is after all writing that very same law on our hearts.