Editor’s Note: Contributor Christine Moughamian is blogging each day of Lent about her progress becoming “one brave Christian.” Follow her experiment on Twitter @1bravechristian.
In 1965, Danny Morris was the minister of John Wesley Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, FL, where Sam Teague created his “Ten Brave Christians” experiment. He recounted the spiritual renewal his congregation underwent in his book: “A Life That Really Matters.”
In his foreword, Morris explained it was “the story of how the program started and what happened to the first 38 people who took part.”
I was particularly interested in two of the testimonies.
Under “A New Calling,” Morris told the experience of a young man who participated in the original group and owned a drugstore. Although all names had been withheld, it was easy to identify Calvin LeHew, co-author with Stowe Dailey Shockey of “Flying High,” the book which inspired my Lenten experiment.
Once he completed the program, LeHew asked himself: “How many of my customers’ physical ailments are related to their lack of spiritual life?” He further noted: “With my drugs, they get relief but not help.”
Then LeHew decided to give every new prescription customer a complimentary “good book” which would read on the inside cover:
“Thank you for letting us aid in your physical health! May we also recommend this book to aid in your spiritual health.”
His “New Calling” served two purposes: to “witness to God for others” and to motivate Morris to write the “good book” which became “A Life That Really Matters.”
The second testimony that was meaningful to me came from a woman who had always been a Christian but, “in an attitude of prayer,” still wondered about “surrendering” her life to God.
She said: “in a time of war between two countries… the surrender is complete. I thought of the struggle I had been having in my own soul.”
She realized that to “surrender” her life to God meant: “God can decide – and help me to decide – what in my life needs to be cast off. He is the victor.”
Upon reading her testimony, I was reminded of two wars. The first one was raging in Vietnam at that time.
The second war opens “The Bhagavad Gita,” or “The Lord’s Song.” In the
Hindu scripture, it is waged in the soul.
Prince Arjuna is portrayed on the battlefield, in his chariot. He is pleading with Lord Krishna to avoid the inevitable: surrendering to God.
In the epic allegory, the chariot represents the body, which must be fit. The five horses are the five senses, which must be controlled by the reins of the mind. Lord Krishna is the intellect or Divine Guidance within. Arjuna is the Master Archer who must battle his drives and desires with one-pointed concentration and surrender his ego, his own will, to the will of God.
After a long struggle, Arjuna runs out of arguments. He throws down his bow and arrows, sits down in his chariot, despondent. He addresses Lord Krishna “in an attitude of prayer”:
“I am your disciple. Please teach me, for I have taken refuge in you.”
From that place of total surrender to Divine Guidance, Prince Arjuna lets Lord Krishna drive his chariot on the battlefield of the soul. He conquers his inner enemies, the error thoughts of separation from God. The Prince becomes the King of Action, masters the Law of Karma.
He achieves Union with the Divine and inherits the Kingdom of Heaven.
Across thousands of years, those two stories seem to illustrate the same point:
Surrendering the ego to Divine Guidance may lead one to live “a life that really matters.”