“Ideas are interesting, but people are vastly more so. You should make your choices as though you were choosing on behalf of the whole of humanity,”
Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
Presumption and despair are enemies of the Christian. Unfortunately, they have friends of mine for years. Like the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, we walk into church like we own the place. To paraphrase Henry the Fifth, I imagine Hophini saying to Phinehas, “Thou and I cannot be confined within the weak list of a country’s fashion: we are the makers of manners.” Instead giving their fathers a vote, they tossed the rule book away.
Presumption’s twin despair approaches life as a hopeless venture. In the Church’s mind, despair is a deeper wicked than presumption. Why? God no longer cares, loves or desires your salvation. Jesus referred to despair as “the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.”
The leper lived between presumption and despair in the land of faith. Mark 1:45 records his bold encounter with Jesus:
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
Dostoyevsky writes, “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” When the leper encountered Jesus, he became like molten wax. His heart said it all, “If you wish, if you will, I am yours.”
When was the last time I became like molten wax in the presence of Jesus?