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Work the Word In

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

Or beaches

Or photographs,

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.

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