Sunday, September 29, 2013

'Practice of the Presence of God' by Brother Lawrence

'Practice of the Presence of God' is a short and insightful work about walking closer with God written in a series of conversations and collected letters from Brother Lawrence, it serves to be both convicting and, at times, questionable. Lawrence's convictions are powerful and frequently humbling, and there is much to admire and emulate in seeking the constant, abiding communication with God (“a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him, or for His sake, and to love Him only.”) Lawrences passion of that communion is noble and something to strive to emulate. What I did find lacking, however, was a Christocentric approach to his description of communion with God, to the degree that at times reading this the communication described felt almost like a modalistic/unitarian exercise, and I found myself longing to hear Christ referenced just a little bit more anywhere (for instance, at one point Lawrence says “we know also that we can do all things...” and I was hoping he was going to lead into “...through Christ who strengthens us”, but instead he capped the thought as “...with the grace of GOD”, which is true, but the trinitiaran aspect of Lawrence's theology just seemed lacking in this work. I wanted more of the work and inter-mediation of Christ, and I wanted more of the powerful work of Holy Spirit's sanctification. As it stands, I believe Christ was mentioned twice and the Holy Spirit once. In any case, this is a short and lively read and what I'd describe as take what you can from it but tread carefully.

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