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Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

Category: Quotes

Mistakes are the portals of discovery

James Joyce

A Japanese Kintsugi bowl, which only becomes valuable after being broken and pieced back together.

You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

CS Lewis

“Let’s Cause Evil to Die”

These words framed the attitude found among the members of The Clapham Sect, a group of prominent and courageous individuals in London who banded together to change their world in the early 1800s. Centered around William Wilberforce, their greatest success culminated in the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.

They were not a single issue group, however, as they worked to reform schools and serve the poor. They started and joined in on evangelism efforts and  missionary societies. They spread the scriptures and Christian writings. They looked at their society, saw needs to address and used their influence and fortunes to make a lasting difference.

Their success was profound and lasting. How about you and I? Where can we join in to help “cause evil to die” in our world today?

“Only God is Great”

Louis XIV of France, or Louis the Great, or the Sun King, was among the most powerful kings in European history. Louis XIV reigned 72 years, longer that any other European monarch. With his glorious head of hair, he presided over the most magnificent, extravagant court in all Europe, and planned his own funeral to be just as spectacular.

The King instructed his court chaplain, Jean-Baptiste Massillon, that upon his death he was to lie in state in a golden coffin at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. At his funeral service the entire cathedral was to be completely dark, lit dimly by only a single candle positioned above the coffin. Louis the Great wanted to be held in awe by all in attendance and the candle was to remind them of his singular greatness.

When Louis died, Massillon did exactly as the King had instructed. At the funeral thousands waited in silence as they peered at the elegant casket that held the mortal remains of their monarch, illuminated by the single flickering candle.

Massillon rose to eulogize the king. But before he spoke, Massillon reached out and snuffed out the candle representing the late king’s greatness. Then in the darkness of Notre Dame he proclaimed to all, “Only God is Great.”  His words rang out like thunder, an astonishing reminder to those in attendance of the proper place of the late king.

Massillon’s words remain as a necessary reminder to those of us today who idolize celebrities and politicians and powerful persons and the uber-wealthy and all whom our society considers “great.” Remember – Only God is Great.

Pretensions to Greatness

DSC06427The poem, Ozymandias, always makes me pause and think. I’ve been considering its message during this political season. All around us we hear self-congratulating calls of greatness. Not much humility. But, humility will come with time, as all find to be true. Here’s the poem, written by Percy Shelley and published in 1818:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The Purpose of Education

The purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story.
― Stanley Fish (American author and literary theorist)

 

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