Anglican Morning devotion for 7 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19-20; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
If “Home is where the heart is” as wrote the seventeenth century Edmund Coke, then the Christian home is surely Heaven – whether in this mortal life or the next in eternity. The Bible is clear concerning this principle: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) The Christian heart should be fixed on Christ, and Christ encompasses all the beauty and joy of Heaven itself where our hope is on deposit.
One of my favorite books which I read during a time of personal loneliness was, “I Heard the Owl Call my Name,” by Margaret Craven. It is the story of a young Anglican priest posted to a Native American parish located on an island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada. The Indians of that region believed that a person about to die would hear the owl call his name. Of course, that is a superstition and not at all biblical for we answer to God only at the moment of our departing this mortal life.
But there is a rich illustration given in the book by a young Indian maid to the priest concerning the cycle of life of the salmon that can have meaning to the Christian life. The salmon may be spawned in a small lake of the wilderness, but it does not remain there. It is transported down the small streams and rivulets into ever larger streams. It fights against the eviction from its place of birth and attempts to swim against the current back upstream to its place of birth. It, therefore, is carried, tail first, downstream to the sea. It then travels the ocean seas of the world for the major part of its life – perhaps seven or more years.
After fulfilling the Lord’s plan for its adult life, an ancient dream impresses itself upon the salmon of its early homeland and origin. It will then focus all its effort on returning. It will swim to the same source of current that swept it into the sea so many years ago. It will then enter the stream or river that had transported it at the beginning to the sea and swim upstream fighting adverse currents and risking death at the hands of predators and injury. Only death itself can cease its struggle to get home where it will spawn and die. It is only upon reaching the place of its primitive origin that the salmon will cease its struggle, spawn, and die. Its dead body will then again be carried back to sea by the currents of the streambed.
The manner in which God instills instinct and wisdom at every level of His Creation is profoundly amazing. With the animal kingdom, that wisdom is most often by way of natural instinct; but in God’s highest order of Creation – MAN – that wisdom comes by way of the knowledge imparted by the Word of God. At last, the Holy Spirit will call whom God has called and chosen to return home to where the blessed of God first belonged. All our world travels, and trials and errors to the contrary, our origin in God is what beckons us always to return – to come home and endure the first death over which the second death has no power.
Our life has been a marvelous journey from infancy to adult hood, and back to a point of our origin in Christ. He made us, and He will have us return to the Potter who molds the clay.
It is a wonderful truth that Paul proclaims: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
As we grow older and approach the stormy Banks of Jordan Waters, We may sense that the we hear, early in the morning, the voice of God beckoning us home, and our fears are no longer an impediment to our joys and blessings. It is as if, as the Kwakiutl Indian of British Columbia claim, the Owl of Heaven calls our Name and we know it is high time for us to answer the call. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) and, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:7-8)
Just as the great northern salmon, the life of the believer begins with a struggle at birth to comprehend its purpose and calling. It involves growth of knowledge, understanding, and of the wide, wide world. There is a continuous effort to create life anew in Christ among our brethren. But there is an inherent mechanism of the Spirit that always beckons, in stages, the return home to the Father who awaits thee from beyond the Mountain Gate.