Thinking ...

A book I like to pick up every now and then is "A Man Called Peter", by Catherine Marshall (who also wrote Christy and Julie).  Anyway, it's a wonderful story of a Scottish preacher whose style and personality reformed the way many thought a church service should look in the 30's and 40's.  I love his perspective and his sense of humor.  It's a great biography of his life in ministry as well as with his family.

Anyway, at the end of the book are a few of his sermons.  Yesterday I picked up the book and skimmed one - and just can't stop thinking about a concept he talked about in a sermon called "Go Down Death".  (it's a long quote - but he writes beautifully.  I only wish I could hear it in his Scottish brough!)

Life begins at conception.
When that happens, two microscopic germs of life unite and become one - and a new man has begun the first stages of his existence.

In that living atom, there is in miniature every quality and capacity of the grown man - 
his sex and size
the color of his hair and eyes
his temperament and intellectual ability
his own individual talent
and, in large measure, his character and destiny.  

Now this first stage of life is purely physical.
It is a life lived in darkness, devoted wholly to the business of growing and preparing for the life to come.

The fact that these qualities are present and not used in this first stage of life is evidence that another kind of life will follow.

In due time, the child dies to the first stage of his life and is born into the second.  
There is little immediate change in him.
He is born into the second form of life, but he makes a great gain.
He sees the light - is fascinated by it
follows it
blinks at it ...
His senses awaken and he can feel.
He can hear.
He can smell.
He is conscious of existence.  

Soon he can move about and begins to discover and understand and enjoy the wonder world of his second life.

Now this second life is physical like the first - but it gives him a new capacity.
He can think.

For many years, he can enjoy an intellectual life
using knowledge to build up wisdom
making deductions
arriving at conclusions.
What then?
Does he wear out, and die, and live not more?

In this second form of life, as in the first, he develops capacities not required by his present existence.

In this present life, he needs no more than other animals.  Are his highter qualities developed simply for the grave?

He dreams beyond his reach.
There is planted within him a deep longing for a golden tomorow when there shall be no more pain
nor crying
nor sorrow
nor death
nor parting any more

Something within us aspires to another life.
There is an intuitive longing - why?
Where did it come from?
Who planted it there?

Why do we doubt that we shall be born into a third form of life when we die to this one?

And why do we doubt that a kindly Nature, 
or shall I not rather say a loving Father in Heaven,
will make that second birth as easy and as gainful as the first?

Wow.  I'm really struck by this and am chewing on it.  

Somehow I've always had the thought that heaven would be ... well, boring.  But if a baby in utero thought that life would perhaps be boring - how terribly mistaken!  I'll have to keep mulling over this one.  

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