How much do we desire the Living Water of Life? And how often do we find ourselves at the broken cisterns, drinking in the illusions, pretence lending a form to the madness?
How much of the Church’s history have we lived in a desert, grasping at withered husks, once alive but now long dead, deluding ourselves that we see life, that we are actually in an abundant and verdant land, flowing with milk and honey?
The Church’s history sometimes seems like an arid desert. On occasion it is drenched by the grace of God, leading to an abundant flowering, as the whole desert blooms into life. But then we trust to that beauty and no longer look to the source. So, in time, the beauty withers, and what once was verdant, becomes parched desert again. And we again delude ourselves that the withered husks that once contained life, still do.
All through the ages, I see oases in the midst of this, places where the beauty of God can be seen amidst the arid barrenness. And those that cling to the husks, they hate these places, they rail against them, they close their eyes and blaspheme against them – for the Life that is contained within reveals to them their poverty – showing the illusion for what it is – a sham and a mockery of the kingdom.
Yet, just like the desert, there are still seeds of faith sown within the arid land, faithful deposits left by those now long gone. Would that we might pray for, desire, beseech and seek the rain of Grace – to water what has long been desert, and see those seeds grow once again. What beauty there would be!
One day, one final day, there will flow a River, the River that makes glad the City of God. Then the desert, the desert that so many of us dwell in, will become forever verdant and fruitful. We will at last enter in to the fullness of life that He Himself has ordained for us – ordained before the founding of the world.
I have also read church history through the years and have discovered it to be even as you have described. It has encouraged me, discouraged me, made fell ashamed, and frustrated and more. I have learned that we who are the church are not those of whom we so often read about. The church is that often unseen and unrecognized few who, while often written about in the books of church history, were the faithful stewards of the Word of God and the Faith of Christ Jesus!
The remains, not because of the works of man, rather the church remains because of the faithfulness of God concerning His own Word and Purposes. There is no glory in Church History for man, as I see it, just few glimmerings of the wonderful faithful fruits and evidences of God’s incredible works of mercy and grace.
I could not help but think of this passage as I read your post:
Psalms 84:5-7 (NKJV) Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of *Baca (a waterless place that became a place of springs), They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.
Thank you for your vivid post.
Blessings in Christ Jesus!
Poignant post Peter…
Church history often makes me sad, but as you both said there have been oases throughout the ages. Today that verdant place can be in our hearts as we let the Love and grace of Christ Jesus well up as a spring of living water, bringing new life to our own deserts.
Growing up in a semi arid climate I roamed the dry hills on foot and on my horse; it was a land of sagebrush and tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, lizards, and the the occasional little stream with some scrubby pepper trees and eucalyptus. Wherever we’d find them we would rest in the shade and water the horses; they were our own little oasis in a barren land.
But in the Spring time when we would get some rain…
tiny little wildflowers would bloom, and the hills would turn from brown to green for just a few weeks; and if we drove to the Desert in time ,it was beautiful!
Who could think in the dry sandy soil any life could survive, but it does somehow.
May we run from the illusion to the source of life, toss the dry husks aside to eat from Christs bountiful table.
There is so much more to partake of than any of us realize; May God grant us the grace to apprehend that which is available to us for His glory and for the Kingdom!
Every blessing to you Peter, in Jesus love and grace!
Thanks for your comments Phil and Susan. There is always Hope, God does not abandon His own bride. And it is really all Him, in ourselves nothing can stand.
I see our country (UK) as dry, dusty and decaying. I understand exactly what you are saying and that those who have gone before us have left seeds behind. I pray that our Lord will awaken us and help us to rise to the challenge of the present times.
God bless you and all that you do beloved son.
🙂 And also with you!
Pingback: Lent & Beyond… » Lenten links 3 via Fr. Binks
Pingback: Prophetic words for this day, part 8 « The Age To Come