Avetts in October #12: Say Love

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Living of Love – TAB

“You  can drive a man into devilry by contempt. If you want to melt him into goodness, try love.”  – Alexander Maclaren

Note: Maclaren was born in 1826 in Glasgow, Scotland. He received his BA from the University of London before he was 20, then began his ministry at Portland Chapel, Southampton, England. After 12 years he went to Union Chapel in Manchester where he remained until 1903. His words have been a great help and comfort to me for the past year.

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I have been writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors. Back in August and September many educators all across the US were going back to school with the goal of connecting with their students. As a former full-time teacher and current substitute teacher this idea rings so very true.  Just last week I was in a fifth grade classroom and inevitably a few students felt they needed to guide me in the ways of their teacher’s discipline plan. They felt I needed to put some of their classmates names on a list. I refrained. I know they were only trying to be good and wanted to be sure I knew it. I made so many mistakes in my classroom discipline back in the day. Just as in parenting. So, I now approach subbing just like I do grandparenting. I “Say Love”.

If the days aren’t easy and the nights are rough
When they ask you what you’re thinking of
Say love, say for me love
Say love, say for me love…

And yes we live in desperate times…

Say love, say for me love…   – Living of Love

 

I love how the audience sings along in this video. Can’t wait for the 25th! 

 

 

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Avetts in October #6: Swept Away – Three

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Bham- 2013

 

“Trust brings rest. .. it sweeps away all the deepest causes of unrest” – Alexander Maclaren

 

Life is ever changing but I will always

find a constant and comfort in your love

With your heart my soul is bound

And as we dance I know that heaven can be found…

When you swept me away

Yeah you swept me away

Yeah you swept me away

–  Swept Away

 

Puddles or Living Water?

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Oak Mountain State Park – February, 2017

“My soul thirsteth for God, though I misinterpret my thirst, and, like a hot dog upon a road, try to slake my thirst by lapping at any puddle of dirty water that I come across in my path. There is no satisfaction there. It is in God, and in God only that we can find repose.” –   Alexander Maclaren

I can visualize this so well. Yesterday as Ruby and I were on our return route at Red Mountain, we passed several puddles on the south trail. As she walked through them, her head went down to get a lap or two of water, orange from the clay. I didn’t stop her, knowing she would only get a smidge of a taste, and knowing that I’d already given her fresh water when we’d taken a break a little while before this.

How often do I take those little tastes of “any puddle of dirty water” when I have a spring of Living Water to slake my thirst?

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water – Jeremiah2:13

March Wisdom

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astrologymemes.com

“The temptation for anyone who is much occupied with the hope of some great change and betterment in the near future is to be restless and unable to settle down to his work, and to yield to distaste of the humdrum duties of every day.”  – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)

I need to preach this to the choir of myself. Everyday. I need to remind myself that even though I have a desire for the future, I am living in the here and now. I have everyday work to do and I need to do it well.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” – Philippians 2:14-16

 

 

Maclaren on Micah 6:8

 

 

At the end of last year I discovered Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish minister who pastored in England.  He lived from 1826-1910 but what he had to say is still so relevant today. His practical yet insightful way of putting things reminds me of a pastor friend of mine in St. Augustine, Eric Watkins. I think if they had been contemporaries they would have been great friends.

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

“Micah…wages war against that misconception of sacrifice, but does not thereby protest against its use. One has heard people say,  ‘We are plain men; we do not understand your theological subtleties; we do not quite see what you mean by “Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. To do justly and to love mercy , and to walk humbly with my God, that is my religion, and I leave all the rest to you.’ “

I am afraid that I am guilty, if not of voicing this, of thinking along these lines. I often want to hide behind the simple when the complex is too hard for me.

‘To do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God’ is possible only through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘To do justly’, that is elementary morality in two words. There must be mercy as well as the justice.”

The minimum according to Maclaren:

  • “…give everybody what he has a right to, including mercy to which he has a right,
  • to have a lowly estimate of myself
  • to live continually grasping the hand of God
  • to be conscious of His overshadowing wing at all times
  • conformity to His will at every step of the road…”

“To think of God’s requirements, and of my own failure, is the sure way to paralyze all activity…” . This is often the take-away after Sunday morning sermons where I’m told what I should be doing and left feeling there is no way I am living up to the standards given.

“The gift of God is Jesus Christ and that gift meets all our failures.” 

“His last word to us is not ‘Thou shalt do’ but ‘I will give’  We have not to begin with effort; we have to begin with faith.”

All words in quotations are Maclaren’s.