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Work the Word In

If our religion is only realized

In the quietness of the morning,

The wind through the trees on a blustery day,

Among pleasant friends with common interests,

 Or through the right songs on a Sunday;

 Then we straight-jacket our faith,

Rendering it useless

In our segregated hearts.

Trusting such a faith is like 

Chewing your food but never swallowing

Or taxing a plane but never taking off

Or sitting in a wheelchair when you've got new legs

Or fumigating without a tent

 Or building a house on a dry riverbed.

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 yeast kneaded into dough

Like good posture in your every move,

Like correct grammar into your sentences.

And yet not like that kind of work at all;

Because, unlike forced labor

Or the strong-arming of our passions,

This work bears up 

Until it sees 

Another bearing it for us. 

So work the Word in

’Til he holds sway over every thought you make

'Til he penetrates every place you ache;

Every impatient look at imperfection,

Every patronizing offer to help others,

Every feigned smile to save face,

Every discontented wish,

Every gift you withhold,

Every dreaded what-if,

Into all the excess you consume,

And the freedom you demand,

And your unwillingness to exert.

Work him in 

Until your experience of God

Is not confined to the morning hours

Or beaches or songs or churches,

But exists also

In the eyes of your enemy

And his rants that feel like an attack

And his jibes that mistake your intentions

And his seizing of your inalienable rights.

Such a faith is like

Swallowing your food

Or taking off the runway into the sky

Or getting up out of your wheelchair and walking

Or allowing the fumigation to kill every single termite  

Gnawing away at the beams in your house.

Only then when the flood comes

And the wind blows and beats

Will the house stand

On solid rock.

“Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on." (Luke 6:46-47 MSG)

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.


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