Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 8 – Thursday after First Sunday of Lent – 25th February2010
“I suppose youare real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
It lasts for always! What wonderful words to hear at the beginning of Lent. This is perhaps the hardest time of the journey towards Easter. In these days, as we try to put into place new (or re-newed) ways of following the call of the Gospel I often find the pain of my past wanderings is at its most intense.
Each day brings with it the attempts to do the best I can to please the God who embraces me and that same warm embrace reminds me of the times I have wandered far from home.
In earlier years in the ordained ministry, when things were particularly hard and I felt that all I did most days was fail to hear God’s voice and deny the vocation to serving God’s people I stumbled across a verse from Romans. Paul is answering a question about the Children of Israel and their place in the plan of God. If there is a new dispensation in Christ what about those who have followed the old ways? His response is
The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11.29)
For me, in a time of wondering what I had given my life up for, that reminded me that God had not given up on me! No matter how far away from home we wander or how deep in the mire we sink God still calls us and enables us to return.
So long as we are willing to turn (for God will not force us into the Divine presence) there is always a giving God standing there calling us home.
That is what being ‘Real’ means and ‘it lasts for always’.
Praise the Name of God!
O my all-merciful God and Lord, Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Saviour, I ask You to save me by Your grace!
If You save anyone because of their works,
that would not be grace but only reward of duty,
but You are compassionate and full of mercy!
You said, O my Christ,
“Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.”
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.
from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ,
all the days of my life and forever more.
Prayer of St. John Chrysostom
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018