On resolutions and obscure knowledge  

Posted by Denis Haack in , ,

I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve never recorded any resolutions that I’ve made, and so have never felt particularly exercised when I’ve discovered (not that it was exactly a surprise, mind you) that I didn’t manage to keep them. I’ve always felt that failure is enough a part of my life without setting myself up for more.


In church the first Sunday of 2009 the prayer during the Eucharist came from The Valley of Vision, a rich compendium of prayers penned by various Puritan divines. The prayer is titled, “Christ Alone,” and contained a stanza that moved me:


Thou hast helped me to see and know Christ, / though obscurely, / to take him, receive him, / to possess him, love him, / to bless him in my heart, mouth, life.


It was the word “obscurely” that brought me up short.


Until he returns to bring his kingdom to consummation my seeing and knowing Christ will always be “obscurely.” We can see and know, by grace, his reflection in Scripture and Creation, but always as “through a glass darkly,” as St Paul put it so well.


Still, it is one thing to accept this necessary shadow, it is quite another to not be disciplined in waiting quietly, expectantly for the glorious glimmers of light that God’s revelation provides. Why am I too busy for unhurried prayer? Why do I find meditation on Scripture too inefficient in my productive day?


As we read that prayer as a congregation, speaking to our Father in one voice and one heart, that stanza seemed to invite a resolution. Resolved, that by God’s grace I will in 2009 make more regular use of the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation on God’s word so that I might see and know Christ a little less obscurely.


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January 21, 2009 at 3:40 PM

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