Losing to Live
Malcom Muggeridge (1903 -1990) was a noted international journalist, editor, author and media personality. For most of his life he was agnostic… later becoming a Protestant and, near the end of his life, a Catholic.
Despite such a diverse spiritual background, some of his greatest rediscoveries involved key Christian teachings – describing his efforts to understand, like, “… striking a match in a dark immense cavern, which flares up and then flickers out.”
In reviewing these thoughts in his book ‘Jesus Rediscovered’ (1967), I have taken these rediscovered truths and their application for today’s skeptical, twenty-first century.
I met the celebrated man himself, in 1978, when he taught as ‘Distinguished Visitor’ at Canada’s Western University. Upon shaking hands, his face seemed to beam as he offered to shake hands again. I don’t know who was the happiest, but as he explained, it felt so joyous. I agreed!
Worship defeat, not victory; failure, not success.
It seems to me I’ve learned more from my failures than from my successes. The sting of defeat is not soon forgotten. The idea of “worship” is simply a way of guaranteeing lessons are learned, and failures aren’t lamented.
Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope to success because of its reliance on self-assessment. This leads to the temptation of comparing ourselves to others. Not even Jesus did that: never saw the need. He saw his role as serving others.
In his book and TV documentary ‘Something Beautiful for God’, Mother Teresa’s view of life was to treat everyone with love: by seeing Jesus within them.
Worship surrender, not defiance.
Every day, we have a choice: to fight or forgive each other. We can help others along the way with kindness, gentleness and respect – expecting nothing in return.
Or, we can take a death grip onto our defiance, including pride, arrogance, excessive anger, greed, (and much more.) If we don’t surrender to the love within us, doesn’t that make us self-defiant rebels? It’s a decision, not a discussion.
In the ‘sixties’, churchgoers were criticized for their satiety… even in a world of acute loss.
Today, we’re getting even more remote as we live beyond fullness.
Now, safe in the confines of our home ‘pews’, we take in the daily news of third-world refugees escaping their war-torn countries… often with only the clothes on their backs… facing starvation.
Domestically, there are increasing needs and concerns re: food-banks, the environment, adequate housing, and care for the addicted and mentally ill. Thousands have decided to volunteer their time: using the discipline of self-denial.
Worship weakness, not strength.
Mastering, not masking our mistakes or weaknesses, will lead to tomorrow’s successes. Instead of feeling alone with your weaknesses today; you’ll have a joyous soul to share with others, tomorrow. Turning weaknesses into strength!
Personally, I don’t know all the answers. But, I know if I’m coming from a honest place, I’ll be okay. For me, I’ll always remember that double handshake with Mr. Muggeridge… so pure and wonderfully spontaneous. May that always be my way!
“I’m gonna say hello to my neighbour,
Greet him with a smile,
Shake the hand of a stranger,
Sit and talk for a while.”
– Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World by Johnny Reid
That’s the way I figure it. FP