Laughing at Demons: Why You Should Read The Screwtape Letters

On second page of The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis provides a framework for reading his work—

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”—Luther

“The devill . . the prowde spirite . . cannot endure to be mocked.”—Thomas More

C.S. Lewis takes a swipe, however, in his classic satire about an uncle demon instructing his young nephew in the ways of the diabolical. Each chapter is structured as a letter in the Screwtape’s own hand. As a senior demon, he has much advice for the younger novitiate.

Reading this novel is like chewing the best kind of cake. The texture and flavors are unexpected, satisfying, and, even better, you find out AFTER you’ve eaten it that it’s one of those really healthy kind of cakes that’s barely a cake at all, but full of fiber and those natural sugars that someone named Dawn told you about.

So you eat another slice.

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Announcement: if you’re opposed to learning, skip this book. I’m learning a lot about my own vices, the enemy’s role in using them, and suddenly I find myself highly on the defensive. Therefore, it’s much too practical for those opposed-to-learning types. Avoid at all costs.

I offer you a brief sample, Letter 10, which hit me, well, like a load of cinder blocks. That is, I identified with it grand ways, and I felt as if I were ogling myself with an awkwardly large magnifying glass. (Do not materialize that image of me in your mind.) (Before or after the cinder blocks, you say.)

In this letter, we are warned of the problems of “pretending;” in this case, the “patient” starts pretending in order to be accepted into a group of intellectual elites. If you, or anyone you know, is a Christian interacting with an intellectual community, you would do well to read this letter. Or, if you are not a part of an intellectual community, but you’ve ever felt tension between Who You Are and Who They Are, and you desperately wish to close that gap, and you find yourself no longer being true to yourself (or your Lord), you, too, ought also to read this letter.

Afterward, I’ve posted a few thoughts, and I welcome your questions.

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

I was delighted to hear from Triptweeze that your patient has made some very desirable new acquaintances and that you seem to have used this event in a really promising manner. I gather that the middle-aged married couple who called at his office are just the sort of people we want him to know—rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly sceptical about everything in the world. I gather they are even vaguely pacifist, not on moral grounds but from an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men and from a dash of purely fashionable and literary communism. This is excellent. And you seem to have made good use of all his social, sexual, and intellectual vanity. Tell me more. Did he commit himself deeply? I don’t mean in words. There is a subtle play of looks and tones and laughs by which a Mortal can imply that he is of the same party is those to whom he is speaking. That is the kind of betrayal you should specially encourage, because the man does not fully realise it himself; and by the time he does you will have made withdrawal difficult.

No doubt he must very soon realise that his own faith is in direct opposition to the assumptions on which all the conversation of his new friends is based. I don’t think that matters much provided that you can persuade him to postpone any open acknowledgment of the fact, and this, with the aid of shame, pride, modesty and vanity, will be easy to do. As long as the postponement lasts he will be in a false position. He will be silent when he ought to speak and laugh when he ought to be silent. He will assume, at first only by his manner, but presently by his words, all sorts of cynical and sceptical attitudes which are not really his. But if you play him well, they may become his. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be. This is elementary. The real question is how to prepare for the Enemy’s counter attack.

The first thing is to delay as long as possible the moment at which he realises this new pleasure as a temptation. Since the Enemy’s servants have been preaching about “the World” as one of the great standard temptations for two thousand years, this might seem difficult to do. But fortunately they have said very little about it for the last few decades. In modern Christian writings, though I see much (indeed more than I like) about Mammon, I see few of the old warnings about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time. All that, your patient would probably classify as “Puritanism”—and may I remark in passing that the value we have given to that word is one of the really solid triumphs of the last hundred years? By it we rescue annually thousands of humans from temperance, chastity, and sobriety of life.

Sooner or later, however, the real nature of his new friends must become clear to him, and then your tactics must depend on the patient’s intelligence. If he is a big enough fool you can get him to realise the character of the friends only while they are absent; their presence can be made to sweep away all criticism. If this succeeds, he can be induced to live, as I have known many humans live, for quite long periods, two parallel lives; he will not only appear to be, but actually be, a different man in each of the circles he frequents. Failing this, there is a subtler and more entertaining method. He can be made to take a positive pleasure in the perception that the two sides of his life are inconsistent. This is done by exploiting his vanity. He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited on Saturday evening; and contrariwise, to enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more because he is aware of a “deeper”, “spiritual” world within him which they cannot understand. You see the idea—the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction. Finally, if all else fails, you can persuade him, in defiance of conscience, to continue the new acquaintance on the ground that he is, in some unspecified way, doing these people “good” by the mere fact of drinking their cocktails and laughing at their jokes, and that to cease to do so would be “priggish”, “intolerant”, and (of course) “Puritanical”.

Meanwhile you will of course take the obvious precaution of seeing that this new development induces him to spend more than he can afford and to neglect his work and his mother. Her jealousy, and alarm, and his increasing evasiveness or rudeness, will be invaluable for the aggravation of the domestic tension,

Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

My Meager Thoughts

1. Anyone who has grown up in an insular conservative community and suddenly finds themselves “outside” knows what is that “subtle play of looks and tones and laughs by which a Mortal can imply that he is of the same party is those to whom he is speaking.” We are try-hards.

2. “All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” This is chilling.

3. The pleasure of belonging can be a temptation—wow, Lewis, you’re really on fire.

4. Embracing the paradox of the two worlds… I’ve done this. You’ve done this. You’re really smart, so contemporary, and you’re very glad that you can so easily dance between both worlds. Strange, isn’t it, that C. S. Lewis just condemns it? Pretending is not an option. He really does poke fun at your little urbane dreamworld.

But C. S. Lewis is talking about a young Christian, maybe or maybe not on a university campus, who is dazzled by the intellectual elites. He is probably not talking about all the identity issues of a leftover female Anabaptist who sometimes feels like a polar bear at a rice convention. (But maybe he is.)

Ah well. Perhaps we all are little devils. Because as C. S. Lewis writes, we soon find that he is sniggering at us. In a helpful uncle-y way.

And as annoying as it is, I’m glad.

READ THIS BOOK

 

 

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Blue Like Jazz: Movie Review

I finally took the time to watch “Blue Like Jazz,” a 2012 independent film based on a book by Donald Miller. My reason for watching this film? The issues in the movie are relevant to my life: it talks about Christian subculture and how Jesus is portrayed, accepted, or rejected in secular liberal arts colleges. (Disclaimer: I did not watch the movie in mindless absorption but rather with a critical mindset. In other words, the language and adult themes of the movie were not drawing points.)

I was expecting to hate it. Or at least be offended.

I wasn’t.

Blue-Like-Jazz

So I would like to discuss the movie a bit here.
One of the reasons I wanted to see the film is because I am somewhat familiar with the work of writer Donald Miller. I’ve read a few of his books (though it’s been quite awhile), and I heard him speak in Wichita, Kansas. So I’m somewhat familiar with his worldview, some of his life goals, and ministry to fatherless boys. I feel like this background knowledge helped me to overlook things in the film which would normally greatly offend me as a Christian viewer. I know that the main character is based on Donald Miller himself, and I understand how the experiences at Reed College greatly changed him for the better. So it was like I was cheering for Don through the whole movie. (Also, I heard him talk about this movie way before it was even a possibility to film it. He joked that if a film was ever made, the he certainly wouldn’t be “played by Kirk Cameron.”) My first point: Don’t watch the movie unless you’ve read some of Miller’s books. The work will be greatly misunderstood by you, and you’ll probably be offended.

We have to be so careful when it comes to separating someone’s words from their actions. There are many things written by Donald Miller that I disagree with, perhaps things that sound nice but are not theologically correct. However, taking someone’s words alone isn’t always the best idea. We have to look at someone’s words followed up by their life. A person’s actions give more weight to their words.
Because I’ve heard him in person, and because I’ve heard about The Mentoring Project, I’m more inclined to give his movie a little more credit. Christians who haven’t had this opportunity (to understand his character) might totally misunderstand him.

I was reminded of this truth of combining character and words by a teacher/pastor from Kansas last weekend when I attended a teacher’s conference. He emphasized (in a most cosmologically Anabaptist way) that our words should not be separated from our actions. He also indicated that we should not put much stock into words that ARE separated from actions or from true lives lived. (So, he was saying: take books with a grain of salt. And facebook posts. And blogs.) So the second point is: This movie should not be separated from the writer who wrote the work and from his post-college ministry.

I say all this because there are plenty of things in the movie to offend Christian audiences, including language, sex jokes, and homosexual characters. Certainly, it could be argued that the movie makers could have produced a Clorox-clean version of a freshman year in college, but they made a different artistic choice. This is always a difficult choice. How will you present sinful realities without reveling in them? There is always a fine line here in the arts. The one thing I would say is that the movie makers, I thought, were sensitive in some areas. They could have over-sexualized the Renn Fayre. But they didn’t. There could have been more reverie, but they were careful to make it peripheral.

bluelikejazz-whoisthisgodguy

One thing I want to discuss is a rather abrupt shift in topic, but here goes. Um, so this is me getting all English major-y and everything, but I couldn’t help but notice the homosexual metaphors in the movie. A female college student demands that Don keeps his Christianity “in the closet.” (Ironcially, the student is a lesbian. I could go on for a while here about how this movie speaks into some of the latent hypocrisies of LGBTQ agendas of tolerance and diversity, but I won’t.) Also, Don’s best friend Penny, when describing her new-found faith in Jesus (which did not come from her childhood subculture but rather from her personal study of the Bible in college), declares, “I wasn’t born this way.” Now the metaphor “born this way” does not have to refer to homosexuality, but one cannot miss its significance, especially in a movie filled to the brim with pop philosophy. Curiously, the idea of “coming out” is essential to the movie. I argue that that’s a strange metaphor choice for talking about Christian believers. Why was this metaphor chosen? And what is its effect? I could wax academic and ask if this metaphor is working to build inclusivity for the LGBTQ community within Christian cosmologies, but I’m not really ready to do that. And I doubt that’s what Miller was going for. (Or was it? I mean, he’s not stupid. He was an English major, too.) Maybe I’m reading too much into the movie. I mean, I’m not an expert in Queer Theory or anything (managed to skip that one in college). I’m just wondering why the “coming out” metaphor was chosen. Or borrowed. (Because, I mean, the LGBTQs borrowed “coming out” from the patriarchal American South whose young, upper-class women formally presented themselves to society at a “coming-out ball.”) I would welcome your feedback on this minor observation.

Next:
Q: Who would I recommend to watch this movie?
A: Christian college students
On one level, it’s just enjoyable to identify so much with the main character. Watching the movie makes you remember those first college days: of walking around in a fog of architecture and ideas… and then that first know-it-all student who makes you feel so stupid and sheltered… and the first person who hands you condoms on the sidewalk…  My favorite scene is when Don is checking out his college campus, all the while rocking his tucked in polo shirt. Hilarious for those of us in church subculture.

On another level, this movie strikes a chord with Christian college students trying to make sense of a world of conflict. We identify with the antagonism that Don experiences. During college – a  time of intense personal growth – we experience many competing philosophies, ideas, and worldviews, and we encounter so many hurting people that we sometimes begin to doubt many things: ourselves, the church, and God himself. But Don’s character doesn’t descend into the blame game. His tearful apology at the end of the movie is humble and vulnerable. His two-fold realization and admission goes something like this: “I’m ashamed of Jesus.” And: “He’s not like me. I’m sorry.” It’s moving to watch Don admit that his spiritual discontentment has to do with his own shortcomings.

Finally, I also enjoyed seeing how Don interacted with unbelievers. His personality and wit allowed him to get along with a lot of different people. He wasn’t judgmental in his friendships.

Have you watched “Blue Like Jazz”? What did you think?

The Anatomy of the College Essay: A Bare-All Feature

Finals are over!
But since I never give up a chance to write a good paper, here’s one off the books.

Yep, it’s the anatomy of the college essay, dissected for all to see. Exposed below, in one bare-all feature, are (some of) my academic writing secrets.

(I know you’re all so THRILLED.)

Actual Anatomy: the Significance of Cruciality

In college essays, you always start with a good title, preferably one with alliteration. Really good alliteration draws people in to your work; because I mean, that’s what nerds professors say. The next part of the title explains the theme, topic, and title of work that you are analyzing. Then, you introduced the broad topic of your paper in the first few lines (like I’ve just done here), after which you tell them the really technical thesis statement that includes not only the topic (mine is–the structure of essays) and theme (mine is–crucial, life-saving inclusions) but also HOW these things are accomplished (guys, it’s where ya put the stuff). Attention! Upcoming thesis! … (Drumroll.) In this paper, I will attempt to convey the cruciality of popular phrasing and its significance as it relates to essay structure, content, and paper success. (Did ya miss it? Huh? Did ya?)

One of the most important things to remember is that the first paragraph is a great place to say the phrase: “One of the most important things.” People are like, “Ooo, nice. This essay’s Important.” So now that you’ve got that, we’re gonna get down to business. You’ve got your font, margins, name, prof, class, title, and text perfectly aligned. Anyway who doesn’t is: An Absolute English Loser. Honestly. No one should hand in an assignment without the proper format. Buy stock in Bedford, it is your friend, I’m so glad we had that talk. Moving on.

In my thesis, notice that I used the first person “I.” This is an absolute college no-no. The goal here, though, is to break rules. What you wanna do is write really good papers and then break a couple writings rules so that you look really confident and bad-to-the-bone. Professors love this. Some of my favorites are: beginning sentences with coordinating conjunctions. And you just might look a little smarter. Also, throw in one or two “I argue’s” throughout your paper. When you are making a really important point, preface it with “I argue.” For example:  “Blar blar blar blar blar, but I argue: This Really Important Point.” (And who’s gonna disagree with you? It’s black and white, permanent ink, on a page.)

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that when I write, I have this really nasty habit of writing HUGE WONKY paragraphs that professors CAN I GET A DISLIKE ON THAT, SISTER?! AMEN! They don’t like them, okay? So, sometimes I just [Enter, Tab], which works well visually (and sometimes professors don’t even notice this sneaky trick), but if I want to get real smarty-pants, I use the Notonlybutalso. Okay, to do this, you start with:

Not only is this intro phrase tricking you into thinking that I have an additional point to argue (but it’s really just the middle of the above paragraph), but also, you’ve completely forgotten that I didn’t have a conclusion sentence in the previous “paragraph”. [Uncontrollable giggles are in the margins.]

It is important to notice that many of my paragraphs start out with “It’s important to notice.” This is because good arguments/discussions begin on the pretense of pre-knowledge (before getting to the point). What readers don’t realize is that my “important notices” are really just the main points of my paper. But they are highlighted as if they are background knowledge, so the reader’s like: “Huh? Wait. I never knew that. This is smart.” You can mix it up with “It is important to remember,” or “It is significant to notice.” Significant-to-notice’s are really great. And even “notice” itself. Sometimes I read my papers, and I’m like, “Wow, there’s just a lot of ‘noticing’ going on here.” I mean, yeah, it bugs me, but fresh readers might not notice (heh heh), so it works.

Not only are significant things getting noticed, but they are also becoming “crucial.” You know, a 16 year old atheist Quaker (?) gave me a great writing tip once. He’s like, “I have a favorite word that I just throw in at the end of my papers. … ‘Crucial.’ I always end my papers with ‘crucial.’ Because, I mean, if what I’m saying is crucial, then what are they gonna say to that, you know?” The kid is way too smart for his own good (okay, I was his lab partner in college physics!), and I hated to admit it, but he was absolutely right. ALL THE THINGS get Crucial. It is CRUCIAL to notice the significance of cruciality.

Then. Oh my dear sacred “then.” I used to use “truly.” But I found it to be too trite. “Then” is my transition drug of choice. It would appear, then, that I truly love to use the word “then” as my favorite transition. Bliss. Also, “also” and “additionally” are my next-favorite transitions.(!!) I like them very much, they are like a married couple, or really just happy parallel words.  (Just a note: I broke a rule—comma splice for the win!)

Another important voice in your paper is your research. Every paragraph should have some quoted research by some smartsy-fartsy professor or historian. My advice? Get in, get out. (Ooo, ‘nother comma splice.) And buffer, buffer, buffer. Insulate. Hug. Hug your research. You’ve GOT to use an introduction phrase, a smarty-pants-professor intro phrase, (then the phrase) (oh, and the proper phrase citation), and finally—the explanation of the phrase. All this does is let your reader know that you probably could have published that research if you would have been given the chance. In other words, you TOTES know what they’re talking about. It’s like: “In Esther’s online article ‘Actual Anatomy: the Significance of Cruciality,’ she demonstrates how important quoted research is in academic writing. She suggests, ‘Every paragraph should have some quoted research by some smartsy-fartsy professor or historian’ (Esther 1). Here Esther explains the amount of quoted material necessary for college papers.” See? That wasn’t so hard. Now, do it every time, or I’ll bash your knee-caps in.

One of the final things to remember is that somewhere along the way, in your research, you’ll notice that one of your points doesn’t go with your paper at all, and actually, it totally contradicts everything you are trying to say. Still, put it into your paper, but only after adding a funky “paradoxically,” and once again buffer it with a quotation by some pain-in-the-butt who has already said what you wanted to say, published it, and worded it in a way that makes so much more money that you do. The inclusion of contradictory material brings a nice postmodern ambiguity to your paper. (BeeTeeDoubleYou: “paradoxically” is an A-maker just like: “juxtaposition.” Maybe it has something to do with x’s. … X words. Like, “the crux of this argument is juxtapositioned, paradoxically, between affixation and exploration.” Yesssss. Or, I guess: Yexxxxxx.)

The “we.” Do we? I don’t know. But they don’t know either. So if you make one giant sweeping generalization, begin it with: “We can tend to… at times… usually… depending… sometimes… mostly.” The “we” hooks every reader so that either the reader’s like, “CH! Yeah!” or, “Dude, I don’t feel that way AT ALL. I must be a freak. Hmmm. I should finish reading this paper to figure out more how I can become like the rest of mainstream society and not be like a weirdy toad in a closet.”

What I have outlined for you is how to begin and fill your paper, but now I will talk about the end. The conclusion is an exact restatement of all your main points (except we are smart so we use a lil different phrasing). Then you open it up. Make everything Real Broad. Correlate everything to the world, to society, and to Crucial. Once the last few sentences have truly convinced readers, then, that it is significant to notice the paradoxical juxtapositions of structure with explanation, and now that we know what has not been known, then it is important, because: it was.

Bak 2 Skūl

I don’t usually say things like this, but… I hate (insert insanely large-corporation department store here)! They are always out of everything I need. Today was an especially bad experience. I mean, okay, you can say that it’s my fault that I waited until the middle of August to do back-to-school shopping. But really? They only had ONE color of the kind of folders I wanted. One color! Maroon. Boxes and boxes of folders, and there were only maroon ones.

I begrudgingly bought five.

I and seventeen other kerchiefed Asian women who were rummaging through the remnants of the back-to-school mid-August mania. I commiserated with them. The disorganization in the office section was astounding.

And this corporation wanted me to pay EIGHTY CENTS for filler paper. I can’t believe it! Don’t they know what time of year it is? It’s “Back-to-School”! When paper is 15 cents! And folders are 5 cents! When the whole world is full of happy hyper children who smell like new backpacks and new underwear! Spread the love!

Eighty cents? I think not.

Thankfully, I had a few minutes to drive to another store, which I shall name Pen Kingdom, whereupon I found something I have been searching for for nearly four years.

My favorite pens in the world.

I have been searching for this special multi-pack for forever! They seriously did not exist. Until today. At Pen Kingdom. Which was organized in the strictest fashion. THEY sure knew what time of year it is. I know this because their filler paper wasn’t 80 cents. It was free. Yep, free. Anyone who spent $5 got five free packs of filler paper. Thank you, I will.

My pens will do nicely with my expensive Moleskine budget-friendly notepads.

This is my little celebration purchase for my senior year as an English major at university.

But don’t worry. Just when you think I’ve gone all writer-snob on you, remember my playful Hello Kitty stickers with which I decorate planner every year.

Yes, I’m getting to be an old pro at this. I’ve done this shopping trip seventeen times, and it never gets old.

To all my student friends: Happy Back-to-School!

A Strange Connection to the Light

Does God exist?

Is faith logical?

If Christianity is true, then why do so many people stink at living it out?

Is my relationship to God only a figment of my emotions?

Do I just want Christianity to be true?

Why can’t I feel God?

What’s the big deal with evolution?

Is creation true?

Why do creationists teach an uninformed perspective of evolution?

What about the authority of Scripture? Did the Hebrews write the Torah simply because other civilizations around them at the time were forming their own histories and they wanted to be just like them?

How do we know that the Bible is true?

Why do I have so many doubts?

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These are only a few of the serious questions that fly through a college student’s mind in a day. Typically, they don’t have time to research answers, because, well… there are papers to write, appointments to attend, work to do, groceries to buy, sleep to catch up on, and a hundred thousand other things to start.

But these really important questions! You might say.

Yes, they are.

Unfortunately, sometimes the college life is all about survival. Actual physical survival. Surviving the next couple of hours. Staying awake until class is over. Making it until the next deadline is over. And then crashing. During that crash period, it takes a strong person to wake up, put life on pause, and deal with the intense intellectual turmoil of the past few days.

That is why the college years are so serious. The intellectual struggle, I have found, is intense. Textbooks are especially dangerous because they are a constant, subtle whisper of blasphemy in the believer’s mind.

Add to that our (post)-postmodern cynicism. And there you have it. A nice recipe for intellectual suicide.

I was out late the other night. I was driving home. It was dark. The moon was high over a somber field. Gray-white clouds, long and thin, floated past so that the moonlight dimmed and faded. Hmmm, I mused. How perfectly appropriate. These melancholy shadows… a picture of our questionings and doubt.

Immediately a song came to mind. It’s a hymn that I don’t even particularly like (if you can imagine).(The harmony is rather drony). But this song came to me. That evening I had been discussing a lot of these questions. We had been talking about origins of the earth, the holy “society” of the Trinity, and who God is to us personally, doubts that we face, and ways that God has physically provided for us. And then, this song came to me as I drove home at night.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh God…   …my Father. There IS no SHADOW of turning with THEE. THOU changest not. Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou HAST BEEN, Thou FOREVER wilt be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest… Sun, moon, and stars, in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to THY great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth… Thine own dear presence to cheer, and to guide… Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow… [These] blessings [are] all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

There IS NO SHADOW of turning.

I was tempted to compare life to the melancholy, to the shadowy clouds and the moon. But unlike the dark night, which is so utterly depressing, full of wandering and confusion… God brings us light in the morning. He IS the light. He refers to Himself as “the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

“Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, THY hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness… Lord… unto… ME.”

In thinking about God’s provision for us as the spiritual “Light,” I am reminded of the encounter of the two men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. This occurrence illustrates how Jesus becomes our Light… our Morning Star.

The two men were completely aware of the good things Jesus had done. They had heard about his miracles and his powerful teaching. They were convinced that He was the one who would redeem Israel. And yet, there they were, walking along, not three days after his crucifixion.

So what were they supposed to do then? Where was their hope then? It says that their faces were downcast. And they were additionally trying to figure out the most recent news: that some women were out claiming that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb and that Jesus was alive.

So Jesus approached these men (they were kept from recognizing him) and asked what they were discussing. After they explained, Jesus said, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (25). And it says that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (27). When Jesus was about to leave them, (and they still did not recognize him), it says that the travelers “urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’” (28). And so Jesus stayed with them.

This is a most beautiful picture of what God does to us. In our questioning, in our doubts, in our confusion of the night, Jesus comes and “stays with us.” He explains to us who He is.

He meets with us. He, the holy God, communes with us.  The Scripture says that that evening, “when he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” (30-32).

Isn’t this the work of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t this how Jesus is? He meets us where we are. He shows us who He is. He communes with us.

I find it interesting that Jesus stayed with these men at evening. And in the midst of their “intellectual” night, he revealed to them who He is.

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“O sacrum convivium!

in quo Christus sumitur:

recolitur memoria passionis eius:

mens impletur gratia:

et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

Alleluia.

O sacred banquet!

in which Christ is received,

the memory of his Passion is renewed,

the mind is filled with grace,

and a pledge of future glory to us is given.

Alleluia.”

http://grooveshark.com/#/search?q=o+sacrum+convivium+messiaen

Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, und der Tag hat sich geneiget.

Bide with us, for evening shadows darken, and the day will soon be over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fn0wQwsKmE