Kierkegaard, Soren. Spiritual Writings. A new translation and selection by George Pattison. Harper Collins Pub. 2010.
G.P.- Professor of Divinity at University of Oxford and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.
I have run into many quotes by Kierkegaard in my reading. This is my first opportunity to read his writing (translation). It has been an inspiring read. His exposition of Scripture is stimulating and thought provoking. I was chatting with a Danish friend of mine who told of the influence Kierkegaard had in his native Denmark. It was marked by a high level of controversy.
The thirty two pages of introduction are helpful in understanding where Soren was coming from in his writings.
Part One- is Soren’s exposition of James 1; 17; “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from fro the Father of the heavenly lights, “. The acceptance of the truth of these words requires faith. The reality of life more often than not seems to focus on the absence of such gifts. What makes gifts good is the origin of those gifts, i.e. God the Father. Paul declares; All God’s creatures are good when they are received with gratitude and repentance. (Romans 8:28) The “good” is not removed (destroyed) by doubt. Doubt can destabilize life. There is “false doubt and saving doubt”. (37) The exhortation is to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Seeking and responding to the benefactor of a gift (that comes from above) is part of finding God. Equality between gift and giver happens when each considers themselves “lowlier than the gift”. (59)
Part Two- Soren deals with Mt. 6:24-34. From the lily we learn the importance of ‘being’. “Dependence on God is the only independence.” (111) The lily can be our ‘divine distraction’ from anxiety. The lily is a reminder that we are made in the image of God. Anxiety is all about our focus on “the next day”. (153) The lilies and the birds have no such stress. We need to practice “give us this day”. Being of two minds produces anxiety. Seeking the Kingdom of God begins with becoming silent. Such silence is the environment for obedience which results in joy.
Part Three- is all about love. “Love hides a multitude of sins.” (230) In that sense it is blind yet it is never deceived. Sorrow over sin is a rare thing. Our example is the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. Jesus declared that she loved much. “One who forgiven little loves little.” (Mt. 11:28) Indeed, love does hide a multitude of sins!