“Christ behind me, Christ before me…”

christwithinmeFrom St. Patrick, as quoted in Christ Within Me: Prayers and Meditations from the Anglo-Saxon Tradition:

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to harken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me.
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

beware the…

Years ago (it seems like a lifetime ago!) I awoke on a March 15, and when I checked my email I found this message from my son:

Beware the……..

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eyes of March!

eyes

What can I say? We’re a nerdy classical homeschooling family, and we can find humor in odd places.

It never fails to crack me up. Thanks, Will!

Happy Friday!

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“What had long contented him now seems insufficient…”

anglosaxonFrom Beowulf, as translated in The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology:

…Be warned, Beowulf,
learn the nature of nobility. I who tell you
this story am many winters old.

It is a miracle
how the might Lord in his generosity
gives wisdom and land and high estate
to people on earth; all things are in His power.
At times he allows a noble man’s mind to experience
happiness, grants he should rule over a pleasant,
prosperous country, a stronghold of men,
makes subject to him regions of earth,
a wide kingdom, until in his stupidity
there is no end to his ambition.
His life is unruffled — neither old age
nor illness afflict him, no unhappiness
gnaws at his heart, in his land no hatred
flares up in mortal feuds, but all the world
bends to his will. He suffers no setbacks
until the seed of arrogance is sown and grows
within him, while still the watchman slumbers;
how deeply the soul’s guardian sleeps
when a man is enmeshed in matters of this world;
the evil archer stands close with his drawn bow,
his bristling quiver. Then the poisoned shaft
pierces his mind under his helmet
and he does not know how to resist
the devil’s insidious, secret temptations.
What had long contented him now seems insufficient;
he becomes embittered, begins to hoard
his treasures, never parts with gold rings
in ceremonial splendour; he soon forgets
his destiny and disregards the honors
given him of God, the Ruler of Glory.
In time his transient body wizens and withers,
and dies as fate decrees; then another man
succeeds to his throne who gives treasures and heirlooms
with great generosity; he is not obsessed with suspicions.
Arm yourself, dear Beowulf, best of men,
against such diseased thinking; always swallow pride;
remember, renowned warrior, what is more worthwhile–
gain everlasting. Today and tomorrow
you will be in your prime; but soon you will die,
in battle or in bed; either fire or water,
the fearsome elements, will embrace you,
or you will succumb to the sword’s flashing edge,
or the arrow’s flight, or terrible old age;
then your eyes, once bright, will be clouded over;
all too soon, O warrior, death will destroy you.

miscellany

A collection of random links & thoughts on this Monday morning:

~ The always excellent Thomas Sowell on Shepherds and Sheep:

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.

Think about the Holocaust, and about other government slaughters of even more millions of innocent men, women and children under Communist governments in the Soviet Union and China.

Even in the United States, government policies in the 1930s led to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers, at a time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.

One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers.

~ Cutest purses and Kindle covers ever! And I’d really love to have one of these iPhone charging stations.

~ A contrast in poems, in worldviews.

~ How Christians prepare for suffering — a peek: (Read the whole thing!)

In the 1992 sermon “Called to Suffer and Rejoice: That We Might Gain Christ,” John Piper unfolds the significance of Paul counting his gain as loss. Basically, the apostle took a long look at his life apart from Christ. All the things that he valued — his Jewish pedigree, his place in the upper echelon of religious society, his law-keeping — he took a long look at this list and wrote “LOSS” over it with a giant Sharpie.

And then he went a step further.

It wasn’t just the past values of his personal life. It wasn’t just “whatever gain he had.” Paul looks out into the future and declares everything as loss. Everything out there that could pass as positive. Everything good that he has yet to experience and everything which he will never experience. Compared to Jesus, everything is loss.

And lest we think this puts Paul on a pious pedestal, that he is at a spiritual level we’d never reach, Piper reminds us that this sort of reckoning is normal Christianity (Matthew 13:44; Luke 14:33). To consider Jesus better than everything else in the world is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

~ My photographer son recommends 500px instead of flickr, but I don’t know if I can muster up the energy to figure it all out. I’ve lost interest in flickr and haven’t posted there in ages. You can check out Will’s photos here.

~ ‘Tis the season to post this photo that never fails to crack me up:

chocolatebunnies

~ An excellent article on “culture creep”. Words matter.

~ Failure doesn’t have to be the last word.

~ I’m itching to do some spring cleaning, but now with a full time job and my master’s class, it’s going to look quite different than it usually does for me. I think I’m going to aim for do-able: one drawer or small area every day. That may well take me into summer before I’m finished, but that’s okay.

~ I love this quote Ali shared.

~ Lars Walker on diversity is worth a read. Here’s a bit:

If there’s any word that’s been abused in our time (and there are plenty) it’s “diversity.” Whenever a contemporary American hears the word diversity, he tenses up, figuring some bureaucrat is about to impose another form of uniformity on him. We’ve made diversity about race, and that’s just stupid.

Snatch up a dozen people from random spots around the world, and set them down together in a room. It’s my certain conviction that the least important thing about any person in that group will be his or her race (their views on race may have significance, though). Gender will matter. Politics and religion will matter, as will cultural tradition. I don’t know for a fact whether general racial traits actually exist in people (apart from physical appearance), but if there are such traits they will have little or no significance, except in terms of how people respond to them.

And yet we talk as if diversity were just about race. A university proudly points to its multi-racial faculty, calling it diverse, even though every single member of that faculty holds ideas and beliefs almost indistinguishable from any of the others.

~ I’ve told y’all how I’m drawn to old, weathered objects, so I really love these photos of verdigris.

~ Molly recently shared a great quote on teachability.

~ Kim writes on lessons from the dining room table.

May your week start — and finish — well!

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“…almost never individualistic…”

aschristianityFrom Anglo-Saxon Christianity: Exploring the Earliest Roots of Christian Spirituality in England by Paul Cavill:

Anglo-Saxon Christianity held up the highest standards of behaviour and commitment. Individuals strove to reach those standards, some in the heroic gesture, some in the dogged pursuit of daily holiness. But Anglo-Saxon Christianity is almost never individualistic: loyalties and obligations to Lord and lord, family, community, and fellow-Christians were an essential part of the enterprise of faith. The Anglo-Saxons would undoubtedly understand the value we place today on the individual, but they would not understand the emphasis in the Church and the world at large on individualism. The person who is focused solely on him or herself, in Anglo-Saxon England is either one of the holiest of people, the hermit doing spiritual battle against forces of evil — or the most miserable of people, an exile estranged from all that gives value and warmth to human life.

miscellany

Once again, a collection of all manner of things I’ve noticed here and there around the web:

~ Why are Christians such bad tippers? Come on, fellow believers! We can do better.

~ A timely devotion from the Femina gals from Psalm 37.

~ Why not a waiting period for laws?

I’d like to propose a “waiting period” for legislation. No bill should be voted on without hearings, debate and a final text that’s available online for at least a week. (A month would be better. How many bills really couldn’t wait a month?)

And if the bill is advertised as addressing a “tragedy” or named after a dead child, this period should double.

After all, people want waiting periods for guns. Yet, statistically, the percentage of guns involved in crimes is much lower than the percentage of politicians involved in crimes.

~ Oh, I’d love to be there for this!

~ 7 things Democrats would have freaked out over if Bush had done them

~ So true.

~ Strange facts about America’s ‘poor’:

How do the poor live? For starters, a poor child in American is far more likely to have a widescreen plasma television, cable or satellite TV, a computer and an Xbox or TiVo in his home than he is to be hungry.

How can that be? In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked parents living in poverty this question: “In the last 12 months, were [your] children ever hungry but you just couldn’t afford more food?” Some 96 percent of poor parents responded “no”: Their children never had been hungry because of a lack of food resources at any time in the previous year. Only 4 percent of poor parents responded “yes,” their children had been hungry at some point in the year.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for ABC or CBS to beam out that information.

~ 10 sure signs we’ve lost our minds

~ Who are you to judge?

~ Cute, cute, cute gifts featuring Jane Austen quotes

I hope you’ve had a weekend full of good things and are starting your week well,

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“God’s people have a history…”

prayingpsalmsFrom Eugene H. Peterson’s Praying With the Psalms:

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4

Those who experience God’s grace have an obligation to pass on what they know. It is not necessary that each new Christian start from scratch learning the way of faith by trial and error. God’s people have a history, an accumulation of experience useful for instruction and inspiration. Only the person who ignores history is condemned to repeat it.

PRAYER: God, I thank you for the story of how you have loved and led your people, the ways you have disciplined and delivered, the ways you have rescued and reconciled. Give me a desire to pass the story on, sharing its truths with friends and family. Amen

“…men are now more ashamed for good deeds than for evil deeds…”

anglosaxonFrom The Sermon of the Wolf to the English, written around 1000 A.D.,  as quoted in The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology:

And therefore it has now become far and wide as a very evil custom, that men are now more ashamed for good deeds than for evil deeds; because too often one spurns good deeds with derision and reviles godfearing men altogether too much, and most of all one reproves and treats with scorn altogether too often those who love the right and have an awe of God in any matter. And because people act in this manner, that they deride all that they should praise and hate too much what they should love, by this means one brings all too many into wicked thought and into crime, so that they are not ashamed, even though they sin greatly and commit them against God himself with all. But because of vain attacks they are ashamed to atone for their crimes as the penitential books teach, like those foolish men who for their pride will not protect themselves from harm until they cannot, however much they wish it.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, written around 55 A.D. :

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

So why are we so shocked at the sin and approval of sin all around us (and in us!) in 2012?

“…fated to end in villainy and abuse.”

whitehorsekingFrom The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin Merkle:

Once more, the king’s approach was marked by both conservation and innovation. First, Alfred stressed throughout the preface to his domboc [legal code] the importance of shunning rash or novel alterations in the legal code. Alfred insisted that justice was an eternal virtue — a virtue defined by the character of God and passed on to mankind through divine revelation. Therefore, hasty and ad hoc decrees that addressed immediate national problems without taking the time to reflect on and consider the eternal principles of justice were fated to end in villainy and abuse. Only those laws that had been founded on the eternal principles of justice, had stood the test of time, had been passed on from generation to generation, and had received the approval of the wisest of counsellors should be enacted and enforced by a just king.