Monday, September 30, 2019

George MacDonald*

George MacDonald (1824—1905) is the author of more than fifty books in a wide variety of genres — novels, plays, sermons, poems, essays and fairy tales. He became a Congregational minister in Arundel, Scotland in 1850, but left that position three years later due to theological differences. He never took on another church — although he was offered a staggering $20,000 per year by a large New York City church in 1872, when he was in the United States on a lecture tour.

There are some who dispute some of MacDonald’s less-orthodox beliefs. He did eventually join the Anglican Church, but was not drawn to its high liturgy or theology. MacDonald himself did not want to spend energy disputing. In one novel he wrote:

-----“The farmer believed in God—that is, he tried to do
-----what God required of him, and thus was on the straight
-----road to know him. He talked little about religion, and
-----was not one to take sides on doctrinal issues. When he
-----heard people advocating or opposing the claims of this
-----or that party in the church, he would turn away with a
-----smile such as men yield to the talk of children. He had
-----no time, he would say, for that kind of thing. He had enough
-----to do in trying to faithfully practice what was beyond dispute.”

Numerous authors have declared George MacDonald’s influence on their work, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and Madeleine L'Engle.

The Grace of Grace

Had I the grace to win the grace
Of some old man in lore complete,
My face would worship at his face,
And I sit lowly at his feet.

Had I the grace to win the grace
Of childhood, loving shy, apart,
The child should find a nearer place,
And teach me resting on my heart.

Had I the grace to win the grace
Of maiden living all above,
My soul would trample down the base,
That she might have a man to love.

A grace I had no grace to win
Knocks now at my half open door:
Ah, Lord of glory, come thou in!—
Thy grace divine is all, and more.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about George MacDonald: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.