Tag: sanctification

top soil

Wendell Berry:

A healthy soil is made by the life dying into it and by the life living in it, and to its double ability to drain and retain water we are complexly indebted… It is making life out of death [and] in a time when death is looked upon with almost universal enmity, it is hard to believe that the land we live on and the lives we live are the gifts of death. Yet that is so and it is the topsoil that makes it so.

Are all these things not also true of us, of human souls. We die daily, new life lives in us daily too. We drain and retain energy, creativity, ideas, experiences, being. Our lives in a most fundamental sense are the gifts of death. We are the topsoil of all creation.

“We die daily. Happy those who daily come to life as well.” George MacDonald

…for soil is improved by what humans do not do as well as by what they do. The proprieties of soil husbandry require acts that are much more complex than industrial acts, for these acts are conditioned by the ability not to act, by forbearance or self-restraint, sympathy or generosity.

We are improved by what we do not do as well as by what we do (ask Lao Tzu). Perhaps we too have lost the ability (if we ever did have it) “not to act” in relation to ourselves—are not all the virtues listed more necessary in your relationship to yourself?

the absurd, the bitter, even the comical

Rowan Williams:

The Spirit’s work is to make the believer like Christ, and being like Christ means living through certain kinds of human experience – not once, but daily. 2 Corinthians is Paul’s most passionate meditation on this.

Here he speaks of the daily affliction, the daily rejection, the daily dying by which the Spirit works, transforming us ‘from one degree of glory to another’ (3.18). The veil of the Law is removed, illusion is stripped away; but only slowly does this penetrate every area of human living. And it penetrates by means of the pervasive and inexorable experience of failure, by the ‘wasting away’ (4.16) of the instincts which look for clarity, ease and effectiveness and the acceptance of the hiddenness of God’s working..

Here is the transfiguration from glory to glory, realized daily in the absurd, the bitter, even the comical; this is, surprisingly, what it is to live in the Messianic age and be conformed to the pattern of the Messiah.

When the future breaks into the present order, it shows itself in Paul’s ‘folly’ for Christ, in the stupid incongruities of this curious life in two worlds.