Sunday, May 19, 2013

Secretaries of Praise


In a devotional about Acts 20:35, J. Hudson Taylor said - “Oh that our pen may be anointed as with fresh oil, while we seek to bring our own soul, and the soul of our readers more fully under the influence of this truth!”

As we search for truth in the world around us, as we strive to depict it, in whatever form, we glorify the One who is truth, the One who lives in us.

But there is a danger, the trap of arrogance, the sin of pride. There is danger in loving our words too much, danger in thinking ourselves wise. William Saroyan has said - "If you practice an art faithfully, it will make you wise, and most writers can use a little wising up." We must never assume the words belong to us, neither to keep nor to distribute. The words, especially those that come from the depth of our spirit, belong to our Father. We can never claim Divine inspiration, but we must take seriously the calling, the vocation, of a writer who is Christian.

Nor can we claim that we have all the answers. Frans Kafka has said - “One reads in order to ask questions.” Perhaps one should also write from that perspective, not to provide, but to seek the answers, those answers that will resonate deep and long as they touch that central part of our being where God resides; those answers that will lead us and our readers to more questions and to a deeper knowledge of God.

The trap of pride also lurks, ready to ensnare us. It is in arrogance that we write believing we possess the complete unadulterated truth. Jesus is the only One who lives in that place. Jesus is truth. We are merely those, as J. Hudson Taylor says, who are seeking to bring our own souls under its influence.

Oswald Chambers, who has written one of the most popular devotional books ever written, has said - "The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance."

I think the author who is most true to himself, and his readers, is the one who admits that truth has been dumbly struggling in him, as well. It is when we as writers struggle to give utterance, struggle toward that wholeness, that holiness, that we succeed, no matter whether the result is published in the New Yorker or in a local newspaper. For, as E.B. white has said, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”

This is our calling, our privilege, to walk forward in that faith, for, as George Herbert's wonderful little poem says -


 “Of all the creatures in the sea and land
Only to Man thou has made known thy ways,
and put the pen alone into his hand,
and made him Secretary of thy praise.”  
 
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Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel, A Tumbled Stone has just been short listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia's website

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