Monday, 7 November 2011

"The glory of worship is to elicit the grace of humility"

Monday reflection

"… The danger of ‘service,’ as an ideal, is that it fosters the spirit of patronage: the glory of worship is to elicit the grace of humility. Without humility there can be no service worth the name; patronizing service is self-destructive - it may be the greatest of all disservices. Hence to serve his fellows at all - to avoid doing them harm greater even than the good he proposed to confer on them - a man must find a place for worship in his life. The truth is not that worship (as the advocate of action allowed us to assert) will help him to serve better. The alternative lies not between service of a better and worse kind; it lies between service and no service at all. If we would attempt to do good with any sure hope that it will prove good and not evil, we must act in the spirit of humility; and worship alone can make us humble. There is no other course…"

"…. It is not likely that such a apologia would satisfy the heroes of Christian saintliness whose ideals have been considered in preceding chapters. With a faith which the modern world finds it hard to share, they started from the conviction that the life of heaven would be more akin to adoration rather than to labour. ‘Ubi non praevenit rem desiderium’ is their definition of heaven; and where desire and achievement are simultaneous, there is no longer any place for effort, as we understand it. But there is still, and always, a place for contemplation. Service here on earth is no more than a preparation for the contemplation of heaven, and in heaven contemplation is the only service required of the redeemed. In earthly worship man does not merely secure for service than which alone can make it serviceable; he anticipates the essential and all-engrossing activity of eternal life."

Kenneth E Kirk:  The Vision of God (1931) from Lecture VIII

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