In This Issue:
From the Director
Continuing the series of articles highlighting classic answers to the problem of suffering, I want today to mention François Fenélon. As a proponent of quietism, Fenélon is not without controversy. However, he has a perspective on suffering that is interesting and worth thinking about. Fenélon believes that pain and suffering come from excessive love of self. He writes that "it is the life of self that causes us pain."* The cure for this pain is the spiritual death of self. According to Fenélon, if we are dead to ourselves, yet alive in Christ, then "we should no longer perceive those pains in spirit that now afflict us."* In fact, when we do experience trials and tribulations, they will bring comfort and peace, rather than pain and misery. Fenélon concludes that "happy indeed are they who can bear their sufferings in the enjoyment of this simple peace and perfect acquiescence in the will of God! Nothing so shortens and soothes our pains as this spirit of non-resistance."*
What's NewNewton's Sermons on Handel's Messiah, Vol. 1 and 2
by John Newton (1725-1807)
The Messiah of Handel consists of three parts. The first , contains prophecies of His advent and the happy consequences, together with the angel’s message to the shepherds informing them of His birth, as related by St. Luke. The second part describes His passion, death, resurrection and ascension; His taking possession of His Kingdom of glory, the commencement of His Kingdom of grace upon the earth, and the certain disappointment and ruin of all who persist in opposition to His will. The third part expresses the blessed fruits and consummation of His undertaking in the deliverance of His people from sin, sorrow and death, and in making them finally victorious over all their enemies. The triumphant song of the redeemed, to the praise of the Lamb who bought them with His own blood, closes the whole. The arrangement or series of these passages, is so judiciously disposed, so well connected, and so fully comprehends all the principal truths of the Gospel, that I shall not attempt either to alter, or to enlarge it.
— from Sermon 1: "The Consolation"
Featured HymnLord, Listen to Your Children Praying by Ken Medema
Author-composer-performer Ken Medema says the following about his writing of this prayer hymn:
Praying With the Classics
Praying With Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-c.394)
You truly, O Lord, are the pure and eternal fount of goodness; ... who did curse, and did bless; you did banish us from Paradise, and did recall us; you did strip off the fig-tree leaves ... and put upon us a costly garment; you did open the prison and did release the condemned; you did sprinkle us with clean water, and cleanse us from our filthiness. No longer shall ... the flaming sword encircle Paradise around, and make the entrance inaccessible to those that draw near; but all is turned to joy for us that were the heirs of sin; Paradise, yea, heaven itself may be trodden by man, and the creation, in the world and above the world, that once was at variance with itself, is knit together in friendship: and we ... are made to join in the angels' song, offering the worship of their praise.
Read more by this author at the CCEL.
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