Here in Cor Unum Abbey, we do our best to think adequately, to apply at least enough rational thought to truth that it might benefit us irrationally. It often looks like this: supposing each of us proclaimed one truth … one true thing … each day, every day, during the year ahead, with a firm determination to believe that true thing with all our hearts – MIGHT IT NOT CHANGE OUR LIVES?
Here is a “for instance” –
They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. (Jeremiah 32:38 and 39)
That God Himself should make us His own, us and our children after us, giving us that which money cannot buy, the incomparable fear of Him, the reverential, soul-saving fear of God in all our hearts … Oh Lord! We bow before You!
Many times we have to confess, “When was the last time I said anything like this, anything so true, anything so able to silence all other suggestions?” Many times we must admit that lots of other words, never so true as these, speak in our minds and hearts throughout the week. Jeremiah 32 goes on to say,
I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.
(verses 40, 41)
How is it that the shepherds, the “lowly” shepherds as they have come to be known, saw and believed, and more than that, they got up and went to seek out the One who had been proclaimed? Herod lifted not a finger (but to annihilate.) The rest of Bethlehem slept. Yes, the Magi were on their way, but how many (the Bible does not number them at three) out of thousands of those who watched the stars were in pursuit of the Truth?
A band of shepherds, watching their flocks by night. They had not been forgotten by God. Had they been hopeless in their lowliness, they would not have stirred, but hope is fortified in stillness, in the star-studded Presence of God. Israelites indeed were these, or if not, the angels made them so, looking for the promise of God, having at least enough hope to rise up at what they saw and what they heard in Bethlehem that night, and coming away with more joy than words can tell.
Think of it … what they heard, we can hear, too! Look! Here it is:
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:10-14)
How can we not rise up and proclaim the truths that are spoken to us and for us in the Word of God? How can we not leave the flocks of tasks, diversions, strategies, agencies, comforts, entertainments, anxieties, businesses, and all earthly delights to see as they saw? If we will speak as the Lord has spoken, we will see as never before, and we will have joy.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child, (verse 17)
Here in the Abbey, as we read through our Bibles each day, we make note of those things the Lord speaks to us by His Spirit, a line or two that stands out, sometimes comforting us and sometimes convicting us, glorifying God. We make note of those Scriptures that stand out to us, and we proclaim them in our homes to be heard by our own ears, calling us to abundant faith in Christ and making true in us what is true in fact. Thus we are established in a hope that “fadeth not away” and “a joy unspeakable and full of glory,” and when it is time to speak to others, we speak by the Word and the Spirit of Christ.
Morning or evening (and in Cor Unum, three times daily,) like a healing medicine, we speak the truth, any glorious, majestic, saving, healing, helping Word that we wish to speak. During Advent, this powerful proclaiming takes on a special meaning, for a great deal of proclamation was taking place in Israel during that first Advent season!
M Disdero, by permission, Wikipedia
Midnight Mass with Shepherds in Provence