ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Christ Changes Circumstances

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Christ Changes Circumstances

From Light of Christ

More and more as we go on with the Christian life we learn the strange power of the Spirit over circumstance; seldom sensationally declared but always present and active – God in his richness and freedom coming as a factor into every situation, overruling the ceaseless stream of events which make up our Earthly existence and, through those events, molding our souls.  The radiation of his love penetrates, modifies, quicken our lives.

This general action of the Power of God in life is what we rather vaguely call Providence.  Its pressure and action is continuous in and through the texture of that life but usually it is unseen.  It conditions our whole career from birth to death just as the invisible lines of force within a magnetic field condition all the tiny iron filings scattered on it.  But now and then it does emerge on the surface and startles us by its witness to a subtle and ceaseless power and love working within the web of events.  I am sure we ought to think of this far more than we do.  When instances of its action are collected as in The Holy and the Living God (by M. D. R. Willink) we are astonished at their impressiveness.  This sort of evidence of the direct action of God lies very thick on the pages of the New Testament, sometimes intervening in great and crucial events, sometimes in very homely things like the shortage of wine at the wedding made good and the situation saved, sometimes in desperate crises like the storm quelled just in time, the chosen servants of God brought safely through danger, the prison doors opened.  The power of God unto salvation, says Saint Paul (not the power of God unto comfort) is the essence of the gospel, a personal energy, a never-ceasing Presence that intervenes and overrules events.

I don’t know why we think this strange.  It is just our dull unimaginative stuffiness.  Even on our tiny human scale, we feel that the perfect master of a great industry is one who organizes the whole in the interest of good and profitable work and the well-being of the workers, who gives his subordinates a relative freedom and lets the factory run on ordained lines without too much interference in details.  Yet he is always accessible to the personal troubles and desires of his workers, overrides roles where necessary and is interested in every detail down to the factory cat.  Even one human creature can do that without surprising us.  But when Christ says the Absolute Majesty and Holiness of God can both rule Heaven and care for the sparrow and will intervene to help and save, we think that is poetry and paradox, and stories about it are superstitions.  We are too stupid and too narrow in our notions to conceive the energy of the Unmeasurable Holy, entering our world, changing and modifying circumstance.Sav

2 Comments on ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Christ Changes Circumstances

  1. It’s funny how in my personal life, I can often see the mysterious, benevolent hand of God holding me up and guiding me. But when I look at the mess of the world, the mess we humans have made of it, my vision blurs, and I am perplexed to the point of despair. Is this merely a limitation of my perceptive abilities, or does God work primarily on the subjective level? Might it be His inner working on our hearts and minds that is the hidden treasure or mustard seed that Jesus uses as similes for “The Kingdom of God?” No doubt many believers struggle with such questions.

    Like

    • No, I don’t think your vision is blurred. I think you are seeing reality.

      Evil is here. We’ve allowed it to grow to a horrific horror. It’s as simple as that. And as complicated.

      What can we do? Well, you are right, our relationship with God is individual. Each one of us has to spend a lot of time on our knees. Praying for the world.

      Pick your piece of the nightmare that is our world today and work on it. Try praying different novenas, see if one fits and feels right. Or research prayers on what you are praying for.

      At noon, my intercessory prayer is for projects of the International Justice Mission. They work on sex slavery and other human rights problems.

      And, as you are able, get out into the world and become one who heals what is now broken. My website http://www.findingsolace.org (Finding Solace) has some resources, like prayers, etc.

      God bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

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