Further Up and Further In

on 29 November 2009

In C.S. Lewis’ last Chronicle of Narnia he weaves a story about the end of the world and the world to come. This chronicle opens with two characters, an Ape named Shift who is wise, cunning, manipulative and lazy & his friend Puzzle, a Donkey who is not that bright, malleable, easily depressed, and gullible. Shift and Puzzle find the skin of a lion and Shift hatches a plan so that he won’t have to work for bananas ever again. He dresses Puzzle up as a lion and convinces Puzzle that his job, nay his duty is to appear as Aslan to the people.

The story is far more involved than this of course, but what is important is that Puzzle listened to Shift instead of what he knew to be true. Puzzle knew he was a Donkey and not a lion and yet he still continued on in the disguise because he was told that it would make things better. Towards the end of the book, the following is written:

"I see now," said Puzzle, "that I really have been a very bad donkey. I ought never to have listened to Shift. I never thought things like this would begin to happen."
I mention this chronicle because it reminds me of what I read today and the truth that it bore to me. I came across Paul’s writings on circumcision. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul uses circumcision to teach them a lesson and to expound upon church policy. He states:
“18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.”
Paul states that the important thing isn’t whether you are circumcised or not, but whether, in being called to be circumcised you changed your circumcision status or not. Verse 20 “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” Paul is expounding truth that I feel Lewis alluded to successfully. We each have been called to divine paths, paths that for us may be different from someone with the same trials. It is our duty, not to follow what others tell us, what Shift whispers and coerces us to do, but instead to instead listen to our own hearts and souls and more importantly what the Spirit of God calls us to do.

It is our responsibility to discover that call and be worthy to hear it. For some of us that may be a call towards celibacy, for others to find a partner, for others still, to find a wife. I do not believe that it is our place to delegate what others should do, to tell others what they are called to be. We must merely accept our own calling, much as we would from a Bishop, and magnify it rather than shrink from it.

The scriptures are filled with many whom have been called to specific tasks, some obeyed and were blessed like the Sons of Mosiah, others ignored the call and after a lesson repented like Jonah.

I feel that we need a lot fewer groups telling us how we have been called and instead need groups that uplift us in the calling of the Lord whatever it may be. The time is fast approaching when hate will be abhorred & love and support truly embraced. We can, each day help that day of love by answering our call to build each other up in our endeavors instead of focusing on why our own personal answer is right for all. We must answer the call and go further up and further in.


Anonymous said...

I am glad I magnified the last picture and saw that it was two hands, one pulling the other up. At first, I thought it was something else and wondered WHY you had posted it here and what it had to do with what you had written. :)

Ned said...

Thanks for your take, or perhaps I should say your cutting comments. :D

I agree. What you and Paul are talking about here goes beyond self-acceptance. It's about finding your life's mission and then persuing it and as we learn elsewhere that may involve a temporary loss of self that paradoxically results in finding our greater selves.

So if I haven't yet heard the call, what can I do to improve my hearing? If I have heard but don't know how to take my first step, what can I do to prepare for the journey? If I am on a journey but am not sure of my way, what can I do find a more comprehensive map? Or am I the one who is to blaze a trail embedding the map in the landscape?

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