Those are the dying words of early Friend James Nayler. These words of beauty and power have coursed through my soul and challenged me since I first heard them almost 30 years ago.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about that last phrase -- “In God alone it can rejoice.” That’s because I tend to rejoice in lots of other things – the good work that I get to participate in at the Center, the workshops my friend Beth and I are co-leading and the book we are going to write, and the disappearance of the snow! I find it easy to rejoice in God’s creatures and abounding gifts. I enjoy the beauty of the earth – am brought near to tears driving through the Hoosier countryside as the sun sets.
What then! In God alone I must rejoice?
Not in His creatures, His abounding gifts?
Yes, because Nayler and other saints knew, nature, people, and the arts are reflections of the holy. As beautiful reflections they can be distracting. They can capture and hold my attention so strongly that I fail to look beyond them to what they are pointing me toward – God. Nayler’s words warn me that I am are to look to God first and not settle for the image – no matter how beautiful or reflective that image is.
Until thou findest all things new, in Him”
There is a spirit that in God alone rejoices – may that spirit come and dwell in us so that we might “findest all things new, in Him.” Even in the midst of the sounds of business.