Tag: soul

Andrewes: ‘Besides our skin and flesh a soul we have. . . .’

I’m thinking this morning on a nasty word. It is an old one we don’t speak of much. The generator of my thoughts is a man long dead and little known today — Lancelot Andrewes.

The word, the almost lost word — sin — with a simple truth.

“Sin it is will destroy us all.” — Andrewes

If we forget sin, we forget our destroyer. All we need do is look around us to see the truth. But sin does not merely destroy life in the now; it has consequences that reverberate through both history and eternity.

Andrewes, sounding somewhat like Yoda: “Besides our skin and flesh a soul we have, and it is our better by far. . . .”

I read these words from Andrewes’ exposition on Luke 2:10-11, which tells of the birth of a savior who is Christ, the Lord.

Andrewses speaks of the joy that a savior of any kind brings. People may talk all they want, but there is “no joy so great, no news so welcome” as when “when ready to perish” hears of “one that will save him.”

To a person in danger of dying to sickness there is no greater joy than to hear of one will make the person well again.

To a person sentenced by law to die there is no greater joy than to be pardoned.

“Tell any of these, assure them but of a Saviour, it is the best news he ever heard in his life. There is joy in the name of a Saviour,” Andrewes said.

But most of us are not on the verge of death, in sickness, or living on death row. The thing Jesus came for is the “saving we need all; and none but He can help us to it. We have therefore all cause to be glad for the Birth of this Saviour.”

“. . . there is another life not to be forgotten, and greater the dangers, and the destruction more to be feared than of this here, and it would be well sometimes we were remembered of it.”

Our spiritual joy arises out of our true selves — our flawed selves, our sinful selves. It arises because we see ourselves and those around us, and thus we see the need of a savior. In seeing our sin it becomes possible to find our joy, it is in a savior from that sin — a savior to love and lift up, to heal and pardon, to walk and reside with us.

[The Andrewes quotes are from T.S. Eliot’s essay on Lancelot Andrewes.]

Rohr: Our deepest self

Last night, I started reading Richard Rohr’s new book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, because I felt I needed a devotional boost. Got it.

“I believe that God gives us our soul, our deepest identity, our True Self, our unique blueprint, at our own ‘immaculate conception,'” Rohr writes. “Our unique little bit of heaven is installed by the Manufacturer within the product, at the beginning! We are given a span of years to discover it, to choose it, and to live our own destiny to the full.”

The phrase, “given a span of years to discover it,” is what captured me. Since I am now in the second half of life, this rings true. I do feel I’ve been discovering myself, my deepest identity, and it’s just now becoming clearer.

Rohr does not, however, seem to leave any room for the nurture side of the nature-nurture equation. It seems obvious in life that we are shaped by both. I guess his point is that our deepest identity, our soul goes beyond both nature and nurture — that soul is before nature and nurture. 

“We do not ‘make’ or ‘create’ our souls; we just ‘grow’ them up. We are the clumsy stewards of our own souls. We are charged to awaken, and much of the work of spirituality is learning how to stay out of the way of this rather natural growing and awakening.”

Lord, help me to wake. Help me to grow my soul.