Your Place in History

One of my favorite speakers and authors, Ravi Zacharias, often quotes Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990). Muggeridge was an English journalist as well as a soldier and spy during World War II. It was later in life that he began to write about Christianity and his personal faith.  His fascinating life story is summarized on Wikipedia, but his own synopsis of the times is provided below. As we consider his words, may we also consider our own place in history.

“We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of ‘the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.’”

“I look back on my own fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that, ‘God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.’ I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin his own ascension to power. I’ve heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as a wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka. I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people wished, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.”

“All in one lifetime. All in one lifetime. All gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.”

“All in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.”

–Malcolm Muggeridge, 1980*

Zacharias seamlessly appends this quote with the following words:

“Behind the debris of these self-styled, sullen supermen and imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ…The more I look at the saviors of man, the more beautiful the Lamb of God looks to me.”**

*Malcom Muggeridge, “But Not of Christ,” Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith, ed. Cecil Kuhne (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 29-30.

**Ravi Zacharias, Let My People Think, “Absolute Truth in Relative Terms.”

Reverent Roars

Little Drummer Boy_revised

A random search yielded this week’s image and the recommended song arrangement provided in Make Your Own Tracks. Both were found on a homeschool mom’s blog. Click the photo to visit her site.

Then I (Ezra) set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers, and I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God.  I weighed out to them 650 talents of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents, 100 talents of gold, 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and 2 fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold. I said to them, “You, as well as these articles, are consecrated to the LORD.” Ezra 8:24-28

she-cub69:  Today I stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me. (Habakkuk 2:1)  O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:3) Yet, what can this poor, wounded soul give to a mighty King? Can He who holds the world in place have anything of need?*

LoJαΩ:  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, [I] will not despise. (Psalm 51:17) For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’ (Isaiah 57:15)  For my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

she-cub69:  I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of [this]…But I strain toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to which [You have] called me. (Philippians 3:12-14) For [you say] our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

LoJαΩ:  [Yes,] “this is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it, not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)

she-cub69: So this is why you often don’t answer “why”? For even if you tried to explain, in ignorance we might conclude that your desired outcome is not worth the cost of the plan to achieve it?

LoJαΩ:  And that would break my heart. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) I have shown you what is good and what I require of you: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

she-cub69:  [So let] my soul [now] never cease to offer gifts of praise; I kneel in Spirit at your feet, a sinner saved by grace.*

And when [the Lamb] had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before [Him], each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:8-10)

*Lyrics from “Hosanna,” Beyond Imagination, a youth song collection. Additional reference information to be added, as possible.

Copyright © 2014. The Literate Lyoness.

trackMake your own tracks…A modern arrangement of “Little Drummer Boy” by Pentatonix can be experienced on YouTube. According to the lyrics of the song, what did the young musician learn about bringing gifts to a king? If you prefer a retro arrangement, check out “Little Drummer Boy,” by 4Him, Season of Love, 1993. 

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

St. Patrick

The original cartoon for this contemporary icon of Saint Patrick was designed by Leona Phelps. Leona just turned 100 years old in January of this year, and I’m grateful to her for instilling in me an interest in the ancient icons of the Church. Click the image to read about the life and ministry of Saint Patrick.

There are many online resources that recount the perilous life of Saint Patrick and many versions of the Breastplate Prayer of Protection that bear his name. As he is the Patron Saint of Ireland, I thought it only proper to use this rendition from a Catholic site today.

Furthermore, I would encourage you to pray for the protection of those in the armed forces and law enforcement services who daily defend the freedoms of both nations and individuals, at great risk to themselves.

“I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.”

trackLeave your own tracks…For more modern protection praise, watch and listen to the very talented David Wesley perform “Whom Shall I Fear (The God of Angel Armies)” on YouTube. Like the Breastplate Prayer, the lyrics of this song capture the image of God’s protection on all sides.

Related scripture readings: Psalm 91 would probably be a closer match to the Breastplate Prayer, but I’m leaning toward Psalm 17 today.