“In His Steps”, Reading #1

In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon


Chapter 1

For hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow in his steps.”

________________

It was Friday morning and the Rev. Henry Maxwell was trying to finish his Sunday morning sermon. He had been interrupted several times and was growing nervous as the morning wore away, and the sermon grew very slowly toward a satisfactory finish.

 “Mary,” he called to his wife, as he went upstairs after the last interruption, “if any one comes after this, I wish you would say I am very busy and cannot come down unless it is something very important.”

“Yes, Henry.” But I am going over to visit the kindergarten and you will have the house all to yourself.”

The minister went up into his study and shut the door. In a few minutes he heard his wife go out, and then everything was quiet. He settled himself at his desk with a sigh of relief and began to write. His text was from 1 Peter 2:21: “For hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that ye should follow his steps.”

He had emphasized in the first part of the sermon the Atonement as a personal sacrifice, calling attention to the fact of Jesus’ suffering in various ways, in His life as well as in His death. He had then gone on to emphasize the Atonement from the side of example, giving illustrations from the life and teachings of Jesus to show how faith in the Christ helped to save men because of the pattern or character He displayed for their imitation. He was now on the third and last point, the necessity of following Jesus in His sacrifice and example.

He had put down “Three Steps. What are they?” and was about to enumerate them in logical order when the bell rang sharply. It was one of those clock-work bells, and always went off as a clock might go if it tried to strike twelve all at once.

Henry Maxwell sat at his desk and frowned a little. He made no movement to answer the bell. Very soon it rang again; then he rose and walked over to one of his windows which commanded the view of the front door. A man was standing on the steps. He was a young man, very shabbily dressed.

“Looks like a tramp,” said the minister. “I suppose I’ll have to go down and –”

He did not finish his sentence but he went downstairs and opened the front door. There was a moment’s pause as the two men stood facing each other, then the shabby-looking young man said:

“I’m out of a job, sir, and thought maybe you might put me in the way of getting something.”

“I don’t know of anything. Jobs are scarce–” replied the minister, beginning to shut the door slowly.

“I didn’t know but you might perhaps be able to give me a line to the city railway or the superintendent of the shops, or something,” continued the young man, shifting his faded hat from one hand to the other nervously.

“It would be of no use. You will have to excuse me. I am very busy this morning. I hope you will find something. Sorry I can’t give you something to do here. But I keep only a horse and a cow and do the work myself.”

The Rev. Henry Maxwell closed the door and heard the man walk down the steps. As he went up into his study he saw from his hall window that the man was going slowly down the street, still holding his hat between his hands. There was something in the figure so dejected, homeless and forsaken that the minister hesitated a moment as he stood looking at it. Then he turned to his desk and with a sigh began the writing where he had left off. He had no more interruptions, and when his wife came in two hours later the sermon was finished, the loose leaves gathered up and neatly tied together, and laid on his Bible all ready for the Sunday morning service.

“A queer thing happened at the kindergarten this morning, Henry,” said his wife while they were eating dinner. “You know I went over with Mrs, Brown to visit the school, and just after the games, while the children were at the tables, the door opened and a young man came in holding a dirty hat in both hands. He sat down near the door and never said a word; only looked at the children. He was evidently a tramp, and Miss Wren and her assistant Miss Kyle were a little frightened at first, but he sat there very quietly and after a few minutes he went out.”

“Perhaps he was tired and wanted to rest somewhere. The same man called here, I think. Did you say he looked like a tramp?”

“Yes, very dusty, shabby and generally tramp-like. Not more than thirty or thirty-three years old, I should say.”

“The same man,” said the Rev. Henry Maxwell thoughtfully.

More later…

http://www.radessays.com/viewpaper/99063/In_His_Steps_Book_Review.html

Ancient Prayers for Modern Saints

The Lord’s Prayer

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

 10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

 11Give us this day our daily bread.

 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.

***************************                               

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,

Son of God,

Have Mercy on me,

A sinner.  Amen.

 

The Jesus Prayer has been used by Christian believers for centuries as an aid to come into the presence of God.  I personally have been praying this prayer for about six months, dozens of times a day.  It has borne good fruit and I would recommend it for any believer.  The Jesus Prayer is based on the prayer of the tax collector standing in the Temple.

 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

Luke 18:13 (NIV)

Please follow this up with a Broken Believer companion post at: https://brokenbelievers.com/2009/11/02/the-jesus-prayer-prayer-beads-personal-revival/

Thoughts on the Mercy of God

A Liturgical Christian’s Understanding of Mercy

Bryan’s note: As I travel the internet I occasionally find something out of the ordinary.  Something that stands out and blesses me.  The following text is a wonderfully precise definition and application of God’s mercy.  I hope it blesses you the way it blessed me.

…………………………………………………………………….

Many people remember the Russian couple, the Rosenbergs, who were tried in court for treason against the United States. The trial was a long and bitter one. As the final sentence was pronounced, the lawyer for the Rosenbergs cried out, “Your Honor, what my clients ask for is justice!”

Judge Kaufman replied, “What the court has given them is what they ask,  justice! What they really want is mercy. But mercy is something this court has no right to give them.”

The One who has the right to give mercy is God.

The Theme of God’s Mercy

This is brought out in the Gospel reading of the Pharisee and the Publican. “God, be merciful to me the sinner,” prayed the Publican. His only plea was for mercy, Kyrie Eleison!  Without this prayer Christianity would be a philosophy, a history, a code but not a religion that saves.

The same theme of God’s mercy is expressed again in the Gospel lesson of the Prodigal Son. Listen to the words of the following hymn from the vesper service of the Prodigal Son:

“As the Prodigal Son I come to you, merciful God. I have wasted my whole life in a foreign land; I have scattered the wealth which You gave me, O Father.

“Receive me in repentance, O God, and have mercy upon me.”

One of the most beautiful examples of God’s mercy is the prodigal son, who leaves home, wastes all his father’s resources in sin, ends up living with pigs, remembers his father, repents, and returns home where he is embraced by the waiting father, who declares a feast to celebrate his return. That is God’s mercy.

The same theme of mercy is emphasized again in the Gospel reading which deals with the second coming of Christ. Listen to the words of the following hymn from the Orthros:

“Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon me. I cry to you, when you come with your angels to give to every person due return for his/her deeds.”

From the Matins’ Services of Lent
 After the Gospel reading at matins on each Sunday during Lent, we hear the following beautiful hymns of repentance:

“Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-Giver …But in your compassion purify me by the loving kindness of your mercy.

“When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am, I tremble at the fearful day of judgment, but trusting in Your loving-kindness, like David I cry out to You. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy.”

These hymns are preceded by the reading of Psalm 51, one of the most used psalms in Orthodox worship services. In this Psalm, David asks God’s mercy for his sins and proclaims that God’s steadfast love and mercy are greater than the sins of His creatures:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love. According to Thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51.1-2) .

From the Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
 Another place where the call to God for mercy is heard during the first week of Lent is in the penitential canon of St. Andrew of Crete sung each evening during compline. Listen to some of the hymns:

“I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned against you.
Be merciful to me though there is no one whose sins I have not surpassed.
I cry to You, O Lord: Have mercy, have mercy on me!
When You come with Your angels to give due reward to each person for his deeds.

“I have sinned as no other person before,
I have transgressed more than any other, O Lord.
Before the Day of Judgment comes be merciful to me, O Lover of Man.

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!”

David once showed us the image of true repentance in a psalm he wrote exposing all that he had done:

“Be merciful to me and cleanse me!” he wrote,

“For against You only have I sinned, the God of our fathers.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!
I have distorted Your image, O Savior, and broken Your commandments.
The beauty of my soul has been spoiled, and its light extinguished by my sins.”
in David’s words, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

“But have pity on me and,”

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!
Return! Return! Uncover what is hidden!”

“Say to God who knows all things:
‘You are my only Savior and know my terrible secrets.’
Yet in David’s words I cry to You:
‘Be merciful to me, O God, according to Your steadfast love.'”

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!”

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7124

%d bloggers like this: