l. m. montgomery

You Whaaaat?

I have a sad confession to make. As part of a school project for my son Ben, I am reading Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. And…I love it!

I am incredibly impressed that an author removed by time, distance, gender and heritage has made me like an obnoxious red-headed Canadian girl. The only thing harder would be to make me like a cat, but no one has accomplished that and I doubt any ever will….(Garfield? Piece of trash. Sylvester? Just eat the bird already…don’t get me started).

Challenging Questions

I was touched by Anne and the strong parallels to the real life of author L. M. Montgomery. She, like her heroine, was a lonely orphan. Tragedy and misfortune followed Lucy Maud Montgomery through much of her life. Though she enjoyed some commercial success, her books weren’t recognized as significant until she was long dead. Doesn’t much appeal to the “want to be famous” culture we live in today, but this is frequently true of artists, particularly painters and writers.

This early 20th century Canadian from rural Prince Edward Island’s perspective on religious life is fascinating. Check out this passage contrasting the minister’s wife (Mrs. Allen) and a public figure (Superintendent Bell):

Anne said of her “I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing. I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs. Allen’s isn’t, and I’d like to be a Christian if I could be one like her. I wouldn’t want to be one like Superintendent Bell.”

Her adopted mother chastens her for this comment: “Mr. Bell is a real good man”. Anne’s response? “Oh, of course he’s good…but he doesn’t seem to get any comfort out of it”.

And, in contrast, referring to Mrs. Allen, “…I can just feel she’s glad she’s a Christian and that she’d be one even if she could get to heaven without it.”

Have you ever felt weary from trying to be “good” and not getting much comfort out of it?

Would you bother with this Christianity stuff if you could get to heaven without it?

Requirements for Destiny

Many today believe you can get to heaven without it. Most Christians believe otherwise and, if we are honest, sometimes we resent the fact that we can’t get to heaven without it. Without the duty. Without the burden. Without the rules. That resentment shines through.

At this point in my faith, I’ve hit on a truth that lies somewhere in between. Perhaps you can’t get to heaven without Jesus, but you can get there without religion. Without living like a stick in the mud. Without joyless drudgery. Without repulsing others from the God who loves us and them.

Its hard sometimes. The weight of requirements on our lives is heavy. The workload continues to come. Financial pressure. Relational issues. Teens. Grandbabies. In-laws. Poor performances by your favorite sports team. Three-putts. And a host of other first world problems that irritate and annoy us. But our perception of what is required to “get to heaven” has a profound effect on our ability to feel peace in spite of all this.

Are you living like you “have to” or like you “get to”?

Recall what the Lord (whom we are supposed to model) said:

“My yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:30)

He wasn’t jerking you around with that. He really meant it. Maybe its time if, like Superintendent Bell, we are good but not getting much comfort out of it, to examine our beliefs about our have to’s and our workload.

How much crap did you pile on there yourself? Plenty, I’ll wager. Plenty you could’ve said no to. Plenty that could be done later (or never). Plenty that won’t make much difference even if you did it all. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Put some stuff down and breathe. Focus on the essentials only. Live free and let your joy shine through.

Thankful that He is with us always,

Jeff

 [ ATTRIBUTE: Photo Credit: Leigh Angel Creative Commons 2.0 licence – see her work at https://www.flickr.com/photos/revafisheye/]
Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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