This blog post is taken from my Seminar Notes, and it’s a good reminder that those who follow Jesus are going to be in a constant battle to determine how they’ll spend their time, their energy, and their resources.
In 1936, Matilda C Edwards published a poem entitled, “The Church Walking with the World.” I’ve updated and modified the poem, and my version goes like this…
The Church and the World walked far apart on the changing the shores of time:
The World was singing a giddy song, the Church sang a hymn sublime.
“Come, give me your hand,” cried the merry World, “and walk with me as I go.”
But the faithful Church hid her gentle hands and solemnly answered, “No!
I will not give you my hand at all, and I will not walk with you;
your way is the way that leads to death; and nothing you say is true.”
“Oh walk with me for a little while,” said the World with a kindly air;
“the road that I’m on is very safe, and the sun is shining there.
Your path is thorny and rough and rude, but mine is broad and plain;
my life is full of flowers and dew, but yours is filled with pain.
My path, you see, is oh so broad and my gate is high and wide;
there is room enough for you and me to travel side-by-side.”
The Church was cautious as she gave the World her hand that was whiter than snow.
The World took her hand, and as they walked, he said in a voice so low,
“Your dress is too simple to suit my taste; I will give you pearls to wear;
rich velvet and silk for your graceful form and diamonds to deck your hair.”
The Church looked down at her plain white robes, and wished that she could belong
to those who can wear whatever they please, and she thought, “This doesn’t seem wrong.”
“I will change my dress for a Worldly one.” said the Church with a smile on her face;
then her pure white garments drifted away, and the World gave her in their place
beautiful satin and shining silks, and roses, and gems and pearls;
and she painted her eyes, and she had her hair done up in a thousand curls.
Then the proud World said, “Your house is too plain, I will build you one like mine;
beautiful carpets and curtains of lace, and furniture ever so fine.”
And he bought her an expensive home; splendid it was to behold;
her sons and her beautiful daughters were there, gleaming with purple and gold.
And fairs and shows in the halls were held, and the World and his children were there;
and laughter and music and feasts were held in the place that was meant for prayer.
And the Church didn’t pray, and she didn’t care; she had fun as she walked with the World,
while millions and millions of sorrowing souls to eternal death were hurled.
“Your preachers are all too solemn and stiff,” said the gay old World with a sneer;
“They frighten my children with dreadful tales which I don’t want them to hear.
They talk of fire and brimstone and pain, and the horrors of endless night;
They talk of a place that should not be mentioned. I just don’t think that it’s right.”
Let me send you preachers with PhD’s, who seldom pray or fast;
they will say that folks may live as they please and still go to heaven at last,
because the Father is merciful; He’s loving and good and kind,
and He wouldn’t let some folks go to heaven while others are left behind.”
So he filled her house with false prophets who were gifted and great and learned,
and the plain old men who preached the cross; were out of her pulpits turned.
And then the World said, “You give to the poor, much more than you need to do.
If the poor are in need of shelter and food, why does that matter to you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes – buy horses and carriages fine;
buy pearls and jewels and dainty food – buy the rarest and costliest wine.
My children, they dote on all of these things – and if you their love would win,
you must do as they do, and walk in the ways that they are walking in.”
Then the Church held tightly the strings of her purse and she gracefully lowered her head,
and she whispered, “I’ve given too much away; I’ll do just as you have said.”
So the poor were turned away from her door – she ignored the orphan’s cry;
and she drew her beautiful robes aside when the widows were passing by.
And the World and the Church walked hand in hand – one soul, one mind, one heart;
and only the Lord, the King of Kings could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease and said, “I am rich and in goods increased;
I have need of nothing and nothing to do but to laugh and to dance and to feast.”
And the sly World heard what she had to say, and he laughed so hard that he cried,
because the Church, the beautiful church, had fallen due to her pride.
But I don’t want to walk with the World; instead, I want to be
a true disciple of Jesus who is righteous, pure, and holy.
So won’t you join me in this quest to forsake the World and its ways
as we walk with Jesus and seek to bring Him glory and honor and praise?