Jesus is best revealed incarnationally
Our deliberate attempts to make disciples are “incarnational,” friend to friend, so we accept that what we do will almost never be instant.

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read John 3:10-21

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

More thoughts for meditation

An essayist tells the story of the incremental conversion of the famous C.S. Lewis. His story validates our proverb and makes Lewis look a bit like Nicodemus (who’s story is in John 3):

“You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England” (Surprised By Joy, ch. 14, p. 266)….

Although in 1929 Jack was already on his knees and had prayed to God desperately and reluctantly, it was Tolkien’s friendship that brought him to his life-changing encounter with Christ. On 19 September 1931, Jack and “Toilers” (as Tolkien [Hobbit, Lord of the Rings author] was called by his closest friends), together with their common friend Hugo Dyson, were taking their usual after-dinner stroll in the grounds of Magdalen College and began discussing ancient myths and the Truth “hidden” in these legends.

They talked until after three o’clock in the morning and a few days later Lewis wrote to his old friend Arthur Greeves, saying: “I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ, in Christianity…. My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a great deal to do with it,” and that he would explain it at some other time….

“Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully,” he confides in Surprised by Joy. “Dangers lie in wait for him on every side”.

A permanent state of siege, this is what life was for C.S. Lewis, an assault that paradoxically exalted the humility of God who, like the father of the Prodigal Son, goes in search of all, even the one who endeavors to flee from his embrace.

“I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?… The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”  

Suggestions for action

Pray:  Make me a good friend to those who come by night looking for light, and to those not seeking at all who are still sought by God.

We are like yeast in the lump of dough. The results come incrementally but inevitably. Take your yeastiness seriously today. How will you do that? Pray the prayer above, again, until you mean it; that might be a good start.

Today is John Cassian Day! Celebrate his underappreciated influence at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.