The eternal in you matters most

Florence Allshorn

And you are to take your part in that achieving history – you have come out in answer to a call – given yourselves to something beyond yourselves. You have said: ‘I, too, will follow God’s Son on his way of Hope. I, too, will obey God’s will through struggle, suffering, aspiration, and adven ture. I will be the means through which God’s creative love and will, may come to the bit of the world where I will go.’ And you have said a very big thing; and the one great fear which is a holy fear is, I think, lest you make your adventure too small, too easy, too self-full, too mediocre. Christianity fails because people will keep on the surface too much, they will not go down to face these deep inner obediences; and that is ultimately to be beaten by themselves. We talk big and play so small.

Two dimensions

You and I, before we pass away from here, have one little track to make in this life away from self to God. The trouble is that we are creatures of two dimensions – and we do not take the one as seriously as we take the other. An eternal you and a temporal you, and the first matters most, the eternal in you matters most. If only we could look and think a little bigger. If we could see, beyond our ordinary seeing, our place in the incredible destiny of human life, and see that we really take our stand somewhere in the millions and millions who age beyond age, year after year, have struggled and fallen, risen and triumphed.

If we could for once hear the great universal cry of unhappiness, the horror before God of untruth, the bitter little self-defending defiances, the dreary litanies of self-pity – happening all the time below the frozen gloss of what we are pleased to call being normal; and against that, the steadying wise cry of those who against every odd have kept life fresh and sweet and smiling and true – the undefeated ones with their grand earthly secret, ‘He showed himself alive in me’.

If we could hear, see it as it is – reality as it is – how we should choose, once for all choose which way we should go; once for all determine to have no truck with the surly self-wills, resent ments, sour things, self- defensiveness, untruths. How we should surrender once for all. We must look and keep the edges of our single-mindedness clear.

Called to be saints

Though we’re not very exceptional people – may never be in one sense – we must believe St Paul when he said we were ‘called to be saints’ – called by his grace ‘to reveal his Son in me’. We struggle away from that logical end of a true Christian life by joking about it even: but we only make ourselves smaller by doing that. You and I are to collaborate with God to make the world a better place.