living for today and the future

“A [Christian] should always act as if he was going to die tomorrow; yet he should treat his body as if it was going to live for many years.”

— Evagrios the Solitary, 4th cent. AD

The encouragement to ‘live today as if it was our last’ is somewhat trite and only partly correct.  While we should be motivated to act toward others as if today was our final day, we must always act towards ourselves as though we would live to be one hundred.

The first motivation keeps us from passing up opportunities to serve, to grow, to forgive, and to love.  Indeed, when looking back from our deathbeds, our lives will seem short and our missed opportunities many.  Carpe diem.  Let us seize the day, redeem our time, and make the most of each day–recognizing each as a gift that we dare not take for granted.

Simultaneously, the latter truth prevents us from neglecting our own health and wellness, without which it is impossible to do those things inspired by former.  We must care for ourselves–physically, emotionally, spiritually–precisely that we might seize today and act as though these hours were our final ones on earth.

Unfortunately, our society tends to reverse the truths taught by Evagrios.  We act as though we would live forever–putting off indefinitely those things we ought to be busy about right now.  At the same time, we treat our bodies as though we would die tomorrow–neglecting wellness in favor of the immediate satisfaction of gluttony and sloth.

We must get the order right, that we might make a real difference in the lives of those around us.

stumbling along: thoughts on worship

For the times when we have…
…read the liturgy extra quickly to get on with our day,
…used a shorter creed just because it was shorter,
…omitted lectionary readings because they were too long,
…skipped verses in our hymns because we didn’t want to sing that much,
Lord, have mercy.

For the times when we have…
…changed historic prayers for the sake of worldly political correctness,
…edited the creeds instead of taking the time to explain them,
…littered our sermons with jokes for a quick laugh and personal approval,
…caved to the false god of relevance at the expense of faithfulness,
Lord, have mercy.

O Lord, “we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror,” and we stumble.

Our worship looks less like the communion of the saints than it does children at daycare.

We are selfish about our preferences,
impatient when you have called us to be still,
immature when you have exhorted us to maturity,
concerned more about ourselves than you or others.

As a loving Father, have mercy on your children until we “see everything with perfect clarity.”

materialism and mission

Materialism is all but killing the mission of the church. The churchlacks resources for mission, not because things are tight, but becauseChristians spend money in much the same way as any old atheist. Thelifestyles of most Christians are no different from non-Christians inthe pursuit of more. The only difference is that in the church we arethe hypocrites because we condemn materialism while wallowing in it upto our armpits, justifying our way of life by pointing our fingers atthe person who has more than we do. The materialists are always thosewho make more money and have more expensive things than we do. Thus we can make our prophetic pronouncements directed at someone else andcontinue to live as if nothing has changed…

Read the rest here On Living Heretically: Some Wisdom for the Church