Friday, March 12th, 2010
Some of the best theology, praying, and writing has been the result of writers of on the run. The pressures of foes giving chase, persecutions on the horizon, or even the provocations of the devil himself have, more often than not, brought-forth gold from the furnace so that the Church of Christ is built up and encouraged.
Athanasius was bishop of Alexandria in the fourth century, and though he was wildly popular with his people, influential enemies were often on his case. Athanasius fled Alexandria no less than five times and often for his life. Yet it was during these times, laying low in deserts and even as far afield as France, that he produced some of the most wonderful literature that the early post-apostolic Church has to offer. He famously escaped a group of imperial guards on the river by turning his boat around to face his pursuers and telling them he had just passed 'Athanasius' and suggesting that he was 'not far off'. Sometimes it takes a moment of pressure to trigger a stroke of genius.
Charles Wesley: You could often find hymn in a tight spot
Another fugitive theologian, Charles Wesley, being run out of an Irish village by an angry mob, was led to escape through a farm house, and to hide under a hedge by a brook. Breathless, and with the shouts of his attackers around him, he penned the words,
Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.
Like her Saviour, the Church will be hated by the world for His sake. But it is from the middle of the strife and violence that the beauty and grace of Jesus may be seen and enjoyed. And His promise to be with us always will sustain us to the end.