Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Clear Window View

As  a writer, I sometimes enjoy writing simply for the sake of developing my skill. That sort of journalistic exercise does carry a certain value. Since I write primarily with the purpose of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ, my writing must  convey thoughts clearly, intelligently and with enough creativity to grab my readers' attention and stimulate their thinking.

Along those lines, I remember Sister  Nicholas (my favorite English professor in college) telling our Victorian Lit class (or was it our 18th Century Lit class?) that great writing serves as a clear window to ideas rather than drawing attention to itself as a stained  glass window does.

I've carried Sister's analogy with me throughout my adult life, but I've especially pondered it in this past year. I pray regularly about this blog, and have been asking the Lord to help me write well. That prayer has merit, but only with the qualifier that my writing skills honor Him rather than accentuating whatever talents I might have. Over time, I've modified my prayer. Now I ask that I might write well so that my readers can see Him  more clearly.

This point of using my writing ability to draw attention to the Lord reminds me of the passage that John and I read during our family devotions this morning.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. ~~John 1:19-28 (ESV)
When we finished reading, John prayed that he and I would regard ourselves as being unworthy to serve Jesus even in menial tasks. If my writing serves the purposes of His kingdom, it shouldn't obscure Him with dazzling vocabulary or cleverly turned phrases. Neither should it muddy Him with lifeless cliches and grammatical errors...but that's another blog post.

Jesus, for so many reasons, must always command center stage. Some people (who obviously don't know Him enough to marvel at His glory) accuse Him of egomania, not really understanding His divine nature nor His ultimate sacrifice on  the cross. But those who receive His free gift of salvation know that all blessings, abilities and talents gain their richest meaning by referring back to Him.

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