“My ransomed soul he leadeth”*
I had a rather long to-do list this weekend, and I checked off most everything on it. This included getting my hair cut, going to several estate sales, going to Lowe’s, cleaning up my closet, doing a little yard work, and going to church. Pretty typical.
[Daughter #1 celebrated her birthday in NYC with daughter #2. They had fun (see picture) and cake!]
I started reading The Lamplighter by Maria Susanna Cummins, which daughter #2 sent me. (Sentimental novels of the mid-19th century are a concentration of her doctoral studies.)
Published in 1854, The Lamplighter, Cummins’s first novel, was an immediate best-seller, selling 20,000 copies in twenty days. The work sold 40,000 in eight weeks, and within five months it had sold 65,000. At the time it was second in sales only to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It sold over 100,000 copies in Britain and was translated into multiple different languages.
I am enjoying it immensely. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne may have sneered at it, there is a reason so many people gobbled it up. It is well-written, diverting and instructive, and to the average person struggling along in the daily grind, uplifting.
[Gerty’s] especial favorite was a little work on astronomy, which puzzled her more than all the rest put together, but which delighted her in the same proportion; for it made some things clear, and all the rest, though a mystery still, was to her a beautiful mystery, and one which she fully meant some time to explore to the uttermost. And this ambition to learn more, and understand better, by and by, was, after all, the greatest good she derived. Awaken a child’s ambition, and implant in her a taste for literature, and more is gained than by years of school-room drudgery, where the heart works not in unison with the head.
At church the Gospel lesson was about Christ eating with sinners and the Pharisees grumbling about it. The Apostle Paul reminded us that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, he foremost among them. In the OT lesson, God changed his mind, at Moses’ prompting, and forgave the slackers in the wilderness. Most of us are grumbling Pharisees ourselves, and it is good to be reminded of it. It is good to be reminded of it weekly and to say this prayer of confession:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
We will forget soon enough and once again be grumbling Pharisees.
Later today the OM and I are driving to Indianapolis where the boy is having surgery tomorrow at Indiana University Hospital. All trace of his cancer is gone, but there is still a tumor and they will remove it. If all goes well, we will return on Wednesday. Please keep us all in your prayers.