Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jesse Halsey: Notes on Sermons 1937-38


The harassed mayor of a major American city lately confessed to a group of his friends that he constantly turned to certain of the great poets in times of stress as the best source of sustenance and balance. While others might find “escape” in detective stories he read Milton aloud and envies Macaulay who knew Paradise Lost by heart and once repeated four books of it while crossing the Irish Sea. The mayor said that once in time of grave personal crisis he found in Browning, “the courage to go on,” and added that Browing’s great spiritual message is that of courage rather than optimism. A memory stored with great poetry is as an arsenal for the soul.

“It shall be 
A Face like my face that receives thee; a Man like to me,
Thou shalt love and be loved by, forever; a Hand like this hand 
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee! See the Christ stand!"

See the Christ stand. Robert Browning

They that trust in The Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever. Ps 125 1-2

READ: Your Favorite Psalm Aloud.

PRAYER. Unto Thee life I up mine eyes O Thou dwellest in the heavens, in thanksgiving for all the forms of loveliness and strength that speak Thy praise and reveal Thy nearness to human hearts and minds. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait and in his word do I hope, through Christ the Word Incarnate. Amen.

IN ALL POINTS . . . like as we are that rebellious boy of yesterday who was being ‘educated’ in life’s best school used to wonder about Jesus the carpenter’s boy of Nazareth. He hardly dared to wonder even about HIM. But the preposterous parallel that he confided to no one, but carried in his secret heart, brought sweetness to many a bitter day. Jesus (too, he said to himself), Jesus wanted to go to the Jerusalem Schools, but for eighteen years stayed home to push a plane—and support his mother and sisters and brothers. That always brought help.

And that boy is but one of millions who have, to this hour, found help in Him—in what He did and what he said and what He was (AND IS).

“Go and do thou likewise” Luke 10:37

And . . . and . . . and . . . it is the heart of the parable—this conjunction. It is God’s plus sign; “and took, took him to the inn, and too care of him” and . . . This is God’s plus sign. Always adding, going second miles Himself, “while we ere yet sinners Christ died for us. Goodness and mercy peruse us, new every morning, fresh every evening are the tokens of his love. He loadeth us with benefits.

Can we afford to be stingy?

Read. Luke 10: 25-37

O Thou who givest us richly all things to enjoy, make us good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Grateful hearts come from Thee, and to Thee returns our Thanks. Thou are the source of all blessing. Things material spiritual and material—all are Thine, and we are Thine. Make us to realize our debt to Thee, and when we have given all, forgive us still our debts. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

TWO neighbors in the old days had gone to California in the gold rush. Young men and adventurous they had started out after selling all they had to by stock in the ship that should carry them round Cape Horn. One man struck it rich and came home to settle down in affluence, the other lost the little he had and came home to spend his days hoeing corn for his neighbors.

Uncle William and Grandfather and the Gold-rush

(Uncle Tom and none of the glamour of Kansas.)

LENT means Springtime. Let this be the Springtime of the soul. God is stirring in nature. Snows and sudden frost hinder her coming but come she will and must. Let God work naturally in your heart and life. No artificial apparatus is needed. Quiet, meditation, prayer, the Bible, and great poetry, the quiet stars, the out of doors, these were among Jesus’ sources of spiritual help. “As he was so are ye in the world.”

O GOD, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh; grant that all the peoples who sit in darkness and the shadow of death may feel after thee and find Thee; and hasten, O Lord, the fulfillment of thy promise to pour out the Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Loud. Amen.

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