Thursday, March 01, 2007

First things first

About midnight I heard a bit of a fuss outside my window and reluctantly I peeled back the blankets until the frosty desert air presented me with two options, pull up the blankets while a bit of warmth was left, or spring to my feet and move with haste to investigate the noises outside the window. My curiosity won out, but the coldness kept me in perpetual motion until I could get into my robe and atop that, my old army winter jacket. Seeing nothing out the window except flashes of red light, I continued to follow my curiosity, and outside I went. Not only were my thoughts, but my entire body seemed to feel and think only of the brutal cold night air, that is until I heard Bro. Clarence say, "Over here." And in the distance I saw the red of a tiny flashlight signaling me. I followed until I came upon Bro. Clarence setting up his telescope. At that point I could only think of warmth, warmth under my blankets, and I must confess that urge for warmth won out. But let me add that I was in my sandals, no socks, my feet were freezing, I was entirely unprepared for a lengthy stay, let alone a short stay, in the cold desert night. Sometimes the higher calling of the mind and soul must step aside and allow the body to seek at least a minimal state of comfort, and only then can the mind and soul continue on their journey.

In prison, Paul wrote:
The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Timothy 4.13)

In prison, William Tyndale wrote (1535):
I believe, most excellent Sir, that you are not unacquainted with the decision reached concerning me. On which account, I beseech your lordship, even by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to pass the winter here, to urge upon the lord commissary, if he will deign, to send me from my goods in his keeping a warmer cap, for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, being troubled with a continual catarrh, which is aggravated in this prison vault. A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin. Also cloth for repairing my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; the shirts also are worn out. He has a woolen shirt of mine, if he will please send it. I have also with him leggings of heavier cloth for overwear. He likewise has warmer nightcaps: I also ask for leave to use a lamp in the evening, for it is tiresome to sit alone in the dark.

But above all, I beg and entreat your clemency earnestly to intercede with the lord commissary, that he would deign to allow me the use of my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, and Hebrew Lexicon, and that I might employ my time with that study. Thus likewise may you obtain what you most desire, saving that it further the salvation of your soul. But if, before the end of winter, a different decision be reached concerning me, I shall be patient, and submit to the will of God to the glory of the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord, whose spirit may ever direct your heart. Amen.

W. Tyndale

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