July 11, 2007

My Life for Yours

Category: Family :: Permalink

The other day, I mentioned that Thomas Howard’s Hallowed Be This House is the source of the title of Douglas Wilson’s book My Life for Yours.  Indeed, it is.  That line runs throughout Howard’s book, as he shows that the home, viewed rightly, is a school in the mysteries of the gospel and the gospel-shaped life.

Here’s how he introduces this theme:

The mystery which was supposed to be at work in the life of Israel … and which was made present to them in the rite of the Tabernacle, was the mystery upon which all life proceeds and which will never be outgrown since it is there at the root of all things.  It is the mystery of My Life For Yours.  It is expressed in the words, “I owe my life to you, and I lay down my life for you.”

No one has ever drawn a single breath on any other basis.  No child has ever received life to begin with without a “laying down” of life by the two people to whom he owes his conception, and by the laying down of his mother’s life for months in bearing and nourishing him.  And somebody had to lay down his life for the child year after year in caring for him and training him and providing for him.  And no one has ever sat down to the smallest pittance of food that he did not owe to somebody’s life having been laid down, if it was only a prawn or a lettuce leaf; to say nothing of the work (a form of laid-down life) somebody had to do to plant and cultivate and pick and market the leaf, or catch the prawn.  No one has ever learned a single thing that he did not owe to somebody’s having taught him or helped him one way or another.  Morning, noon, and night, we owe it all to others.  My Life For Yours.  I owe my life to you, and I lay mine down for you (pp. 23-24).

In the course of the book, Howard develops this theme from the front door through the living room and the kitchen to the bedroom, where we have both the entrance into life and the exit.  My temptation is to quote it all to you, but instead I’ll just recommend that you pick up this book, along with Wilson’s, and spend some enjoyable time meditating on how the gospel is lived out in the rooms of your house and how your home is God’s school of charity, as Howard puts it.  And may those meditations be words on which we can act.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:43 pm | Discuss (0)

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