SIMPLE GIFTS

Christ’s thinking and teaching … dwelt when He pleased in the loftiest region of truths. … Words fell from Him the infinite depth of whose thought we have not fathomed yet.

And yet, dwelling in this inner light and breathing always the air of the sublimest heights, we find His work and His teaching revolving always around the simple things of life. In them He found His peace: in making a religion of common life fit for the use of the humblest and of the poor in spirit. In healing the sick and comforting the sorrow-stricken; in taking away the burden of sin; in moving through the ordinary life of men–in the boat, in the field, in the craftsman’s shop, in the quiet village, He found for men the way to God, the certainties of immortal life, the best repose of heart. In the homelier scenery of earth He found the best illustrations of the infinite truths of Heaven: in the rain which fell and the flowers that adorned themselves, in the flying-birds and the growing seed, in the ways of the sheep and the foldings of the vine branch. In these things, simple human and natural things, he chose to reveal the infinite God and His relation to us. To understand them and their stories, to understand the relations of man to man, and man to nature and its life, was to understand the relation of the Everlasting Father to His children. The word is very nigh thee, even in thy heart. [Deuteronomy 30:14, quoted in Romans 10:8]

It is a great lesson for us. We shall find the most enduring beauty and sublimity not in the mountainous region of Christian speculation, haunted by the thunderstorms of spiritual doubt and pain, but in sailing on the slowly flowing river of a life of daily love. … And with that life, there will be revelation also–quiet days when the still beauty of God will descend like the low colour of the sunset, and fill the heart with mystic peace and long-lived joy: and when out of the far and steady aspiration wrought by doing always the right and loving thing, magnificence will come, and we shall look below the clouds of life straight into the infinite, and in the light know the truths which speculation only toils all its life in vain to find.

It is well when we have been a long time in our nest on the dewy ground of gentle human love, to soar, singing and aspiring, into the skies, and live for a little in a ‘privacy of glorious light;’ but the greater part of life should bring God down to the common earth.

We shall have hope, not ecstatic, but growing into assurance. And in such a life, most tenderly, most purely dawns the peace which passeth understanding.

 – The Rev. Stopford Brooke
“Spiritual Exhaustion,”
a sermon in The Spirit of the Christian Life, London, 1881.


Righteousness by faith speaks like this:
“You need not say in your heart
‘Who could go up to Heaven to bring Christ down to us,
or who could descend into the depths to bring him up from the dead?’
No, the word is very near you, on your own lips and in your own heart!”

Romans 10: 6-8
The New Testament in Modern English
Revised Student Edition
Translated by J. B. Phillips, 1972

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