The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, — rejoicing — sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

~ BY Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A House of Singing

“I don’t remember that I ever have passed that house,” he said, “without hearing some one singing. Does it go on all the time?”
Yes, unless mother is sick.”
“And what is it all about?”
“Oh just joy! Gladness that we are alive, that we have things to do that we like, and praising the Lord.”
“Umph!” Said Mr. Pryor.
“It’s just letting out what our hearts are full of, “I told him. “Don’t you know that song: ‘Tis the old time religion
And you cannot keep it still?’ “


Death & Resurrection

The one thing that is “not good” in the original creation is Adam’s loneliness. And how does God go about addressing that imperfection? He puts Adam into deep sleep, tears out a rib from his side, closes up the flesh, and builds a woman from the rib. The solution to what is “not good” is something like death, and something like resurrection.

That’s always the solution. When God sees that something is “not good” in us, in our life situation, He tends not to ease us into a new stage. He kills us, in order to raise us up again. That has to happen, because it is a universal truth that “unless the seed go into the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit.”

Peter Leithart

Turning the Cheek

A student, Daniel Foucachon, gave some very thoughtful perspectives on Jesus’ instructions in the Sermon on the Mount. He noted that Jesus is not commending non-resistance, but a particular kind of resistance. Our resistance is modeled on Jesus’ own; He conquered by going willingly to the cross, and He instructs us to do the same in the details of life.

Regarding the instructions to give more than adversaries ask, he points out that the Bible says the borrower is the slave of the lender. When we give more than is demanded of us, we become lenders and place our opponent in the place of a borrower. Giving more than asked thus reverses the power relationship, so that the “oppressed” takes mastery of the situation. We really do “overcome” evil with good.

-Dr. Leithart,

Laughter is Warfare

“Like the closing chapters of Job, Ecclesiastes teaches that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamed of in our philosophies or theologies, that God is up to more than we can possibly conceive, and that, limited and finite as we are, it is only natural that our grasp of the pattern of history is partial and our control of life is limited.” (Deep Comedy, Dr. Leithart)

(God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. . . )

“Like the days of creation, which move from evening to morning, biblical history moves from darkness to light, from the darkness, emptiness and formlessness of the original creation (Gen. 1:2) to the lighted and teeming city of Revelation. History moves toward day.” (Ibid.)

(The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower. . . )

“The joy of Easter, the joy of resurrection, the joy of trinitarian life does not simply offer an alternative ‘worldview’ to the tragic self-inflation of the ancients. Worked out in the joyful life of the Christian church, deep comedy is the chief weapon of our warfare. For in the joy of the Lord is our strength, and Satan shall be felled with ‘cakes and ale’ and midnight revels.” (Ibid.)

(Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall . . . )
“Good Christian Men, Rejoice!”

HT: Lydia Smith