OHIO VALLEY DISTRICT
Tranquility, Gentleness, Strength
Evelyn Underhill, in The Spiritual Life, writes, “ St. John of the Cross says that every quality or virtue which that Spirit really produces in our souls has three distinguishing characters—as it were a threefold National Mark—Tranquility, Gentleness, Strength. All our action—and now we are thinking specially of action—must be peaceful, gentle and strong. That suggests, doesn’t it, an immense depth, and an invulnerable steadiness as the soul’s abiding temper; a depth and a steadiness which come from the fact that our small action is now part of the total action of God, whose Spirit, as another saint has said, ‘Works always in tranquility.’ Fuss and feverishness, anxiety, intensity, intolerance, instability, pessimism and wobble, and every kind of hurry and worry—these, even on the highest levels, are signs of the self-made and self-acting soul; the spiritual parvenu. The saints are never like that. They share the quiet and noble qualities of the great family to which they belong.”
The Spirit produces in our souls tranquility, gentleness, and strength. Underhill is making the simple point that has been made many times over that people tend to become like those around us. In the Christian life the followers of Jesus tend to become like Jesus. When we are engaged in regular prayer, praise and devotion, we tend to take on the characteristics of the Spirit. Back in the day we called this dynamic “sanctification.”
The culture around us prefers a different dynamic. We live in a time of loud voices, drama, gotcha debate, rude and obnoxious behavior, and the throwing of stones; all of which exposes weakness and frailty. This dynamic leaves all in its path vulnerable and anxious. This dynamic leaves all in its wake devastated and hopeless. I must confess a deep sadness in my soul when I see the church, the followers of Jesus, embracing the dynamic and behavior of the culture. Where is the tranquility, gentleness, and strength of our Church?
Ephesians 3 is a profound expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It boasts of the boundless riches of Christ and reveals the great mystery of God. This mystery that could barely be understood is simply that the salvation of God is for all people, Jew and Gentile. There were those convinced that the salvation of God belonged only to Jews. Paul himself held this view for a long time. It took the mighty acts of God in the Holy Spirit to reveal to Paul the great mystery! God loves all, intends to save all, yes, even those Gentiles you have rejected and hated all these years!
I urge you to prayer. Stop participating in the dynamic that leads to hopelessness. Choose instead to embrace the Spirit of God in prayer. Let the Spirit grow in you! Watch God give you tranquility, gentleness, and strength. Read and pray the scripture, Ephesians 3.
Ohio Valley District Office:
Rev. Bruce Hitchcock
352 Canton Rd.
Wintersville, OH 43953
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(Summer Hours beginning June 21
Monday thru Thursday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m
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