Jesus Creed

AshWed.jpgInstead of presuming on the future James advocates a providential approach to our future. Here are his words:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that
city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why,
you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You
are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

One customary way of approaching our future is to put that future into the hands of the Lord and to trust in God. The most common signs of this approach is prayer and the disposition of trusting God. I’d like to offer a slight variation on this, and I will quote Tertullian — and suggest that one way of marking our future as in God’s hands instead of our own is to make the sign of the cross over our futures. Here is Tertullian, from The Chaplet, chp. 3.

At every forward step and movement,
At every going in and out,
When we put on our clothes and shoes,
When we bathe,
When we sit at table,
When we light the lamps,
On couch, on seat,
In all ordinary actions of daily life,
We trace upon our forehead the sign [of the cross].

Already in the 2d Century the Christians were marking everything with the cross, the sign of death to self and life to God. Perhaps we can do the same — today — making the sign of the cross over our future as an act that shows we are trusting in God’s future and not our own.

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