God Briefly
by Reverend Daniel England

January 11, 2018

Rediscovering humility...
 
Last night at the Deacon's meeting, Brenda Calia said that in the course of
dealing with her recent and most inconvenient injury she had learned anew
about humility. A self-reliant person, she came to realize that she was going to have to accept the help of others and to do that graciously, she had to let loose her pride. In the words of the old spiritual, "you better get you humble in your soul."
 
Interestingly, the verse she had ferreted out in Scripture to accompany this experience was I Peter 5:6-7, which reads,
 
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time
he may exalt you. Cast all your care on him, for he cares for you."
 
It is, at first, a strange juxtaposition of thoughts. How does casting burdens on the Lord make you humble? Actually, the words for "cast all your care" in the Greek evokes the image of a man throwing a huge sack, say of grain, on the
back of a donkey. How does that help get us to humility? By realizing that the
load is too heavy to carry by ourselves.
 
In the exquisitely produced Netflix series, The Crown, Prince Phillip is portrayed
as being at some God-awful Scottish school. After a series of drubbings by the other boys, he becomes obsessed with building a stone block gate for the
school. In the end, setting the huge iron gate on the stone was too much for
him and he, all but broken, finally wanders into the dining hall with these
simple words, "I need help."
 
There are many strange things said about faith, with lots of advice on how to have a strong faith, an invincible faith as if the goal of the Christian life is to
slay dragons. Jesus knew none of this. In case after case, he took humility for faith: from the ruler Jairus to the woman who reached out to touch him, he
said the same thing, not based on a proclamation of intent or their confidence, but only on their humility: "Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace."
 
Thank you, Brenda, for reminding us.

Daniel

Reverend Daniel England
Interim Senior Minister
The First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut