CENTERED ON CHRIST – Dr. Vernon Grounds
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Opinions differ markedly as to how far left they are. In any case, we mustn’t forget that all truth comes from Him who is the truth. And I honestly don’t know how one with precision establishes the center of orthodoxy. I’ve never forgotten the woman captured during the Spanish Civil War who, when ordered to position herself politically (right would mean conservative; left would mean liberal), replied, “I stand at extreme center.” That’s my own position too. . . provided I’m allowed to decide where the center is located.
This Christmas letter, which I hope to keep on sending out as long as possible, affords me the opportunity of sharing inspiration and insight from some of the towering individuals who have impacted my mind and heart. Oddly, they are sometimes viewed with suspicion (more often wrongly rather than rightly) because of their allegedly left-of-center theology.
Well, here’s what Karl Barth wrote as he reached his 50th milestone.
Now one knows that everything is at stake. Old age is coming nearer and with it what comes at the end of old age—if it does not come suddenly before then. For anyone who still has time and a goal to reach, this can only mean that everything and everyone become more sharply etched: the problems and needs of one’s own position and career, as well as those of the world around, are felt more keenly. One is moved to a prudent haste, to a certain mild but dogged intensity in both work and talk. Now is the time when everything seems to be extremely serious, as indeed it is. One has to decide whether the gift of this short life also involves a responsibility and whether one has properly understood this responsibility, for all one’s stupidity and perverseness. There is also the question whether despite one’s own unfaithfulness, one has accepted this responsibility gratefully as a sign of the free grace of God.
Those, mind you, were Barth’s reflections at 50. They are far more pertinent for myself heading rapidly towards 84!