Thanks to The Atlantic, I’m in the middle of reading the book From the Hook of Holland to the Horn of Constantinople. When the author was in his late teens in the early 30s, he decided on a whim to walk across Europe and this is his memoir.
At one point, moved by religious art from the years leading up to the Reformation, he quotes a poem from a man named John Skelton who lived and wrote in the same period. Here is the poem:
my blood ran,
for thee, man,
it can not be nayed.
My body, blue and wan,
It came to me strongly that I spent too much time pondering the meaning, extent, and necessity of the Atonement and not enough time at the foot of the cross.
Pondering has its place–although it tends to alienate us from the subject of our pondering it can also give us a richer understanding that, once assimilated and internalized, allows us a richer relationship with the subject; and it can breathe fresh life into relations that have grown stale. But we would do better ofttimes to simply “believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world.â€?