Eyes to See

A friend of mine led a tour last year to the seven churches of the book of Revelation. I said, “Did you go to the island of Patmos?” “No,” he said, “I asked the people about going to Patmos, and they said, ‘It would take you a day to get there, and a day to get back, and when you get to Patmos you don’t see anything.’”

And I thought to myself, “Tell that one to the Apostle John!”

—from a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson

A Prayer for Year’s End

O Love beyond Compare,
Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With Thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for Thy use.

—from The Valley of Vision

Enculturated Christianity

Why has Christianity, more than any other major religion of the world, been able to infiltrate so many different radically different cultures? There is of course a core of teachings . . . to which all forms of Christianity are committed. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of freedom in how these absolutes are expressed and take form within a particular culture. Contrary to popular opinion, then, Christianity is not a Western religion that destroys local cultures. Rather Christianity has taken more culturally diverse forms than other faiths.

—Tim Keller, The Reason for God, chapter 4