Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Brand Plucked Out of the Burning

To my mind, few essayists model humble orthodoxy like World Magazine's Andrée Seu, a true gift to the church. Her latest essay continues her insightful ministry:

Firebrand preachers and lackluster husbands. Men of both prayer and clinical morbidity. Women of wisdom given to gluttony. Samson making shipwreck of his life but taking the prophets of Dagon down with him. How do you tally the sum of this? Where do you put the coordinating conjunction? "Wesley was a great soul winner, but he sure was a lousy husband!" or, "Wesley was a lousy husband, but what a soul winner!"

In 1753, Mr. Wesley, in the grip of serious illness, and "not knowing how it might please God to dispose of me," penned his own epitaph, which begins: "Here lies the body of John Wesley, A brand plucked out of the burning." Better words were never writ.

A 16-year-old boy I care deeply about is growing up with half a complement of parents, and the one who remains is obtuse in sports and tends to depression. Such are the children of the kingdom of God—all missing arms or limbs, all cracked vessels. His mother doesn't always hear her children because she's lost in thought about some essay or other for a Christian magazine. Out of such raw material God is pleased to build His kingdom, the better to show the power is from Him.

The Lord will judge. And when He does (on that Day when no flesh shall boast), I know His weights and measures will be fair, and tempered with a better love than mine, and that the Wisdom who was by His side when He established earth and sky will cast His judgment in our favor.

Read the whole thing.