If our religion is realized
Only in the quietness of the morning,
In the wind through the trees on a blustery day,
The ocean waves crashing on the shore,
And a picture of a new mother with her babe;
Then we segregate our faith from life's meat and potatoes,
And our vague religion becomes
All stirrings with no action—
Like bread un-kneaded
And tinted paint unmixed
And a house built on sand.
Eternal life is not had
"By simply feeling
The presence of God
In flowers and music" (Lewis, 155);
But in working the words in—
Like dye into clothes,
Like salt into soup,
Like food's nourishment to the body.
And yet, not like that at all.
For unlike a taskmaster cracking his whip
Or the sacrificing of art and emotion,
This working bears up
Until it sees
Another bearing it for you.
So work the Word in
'Til he penetrates every space;
Every impatient look at the clock
Every patronizing offer for help
Every feigned smile to save face
Every discontented wish
Every disengaged silence
Every dreaded fear
Into the excess you acquire
Into every force you assert
Into all unwillingness to exert . . .
Until your experience of God
Is not confined to the morning hours
But exists also
In the eyes of your enemy
And the paying of taxes
And the daily mundane
And the weakening of your body
And the fear of the future.
Only then when the floods come
And the wind blows and beats upon the house
Will it stand
Upon the rock.
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.