“Water at the Root”
“Faith is like water at the root. Faith is like the rain, and like the rain it is something to be watched for and prayed for and waited for.” ~ Phillip Britts
… You need to be thirsty …
In 1947 Phillip presciently wrote: “Let us recognize how godless our times are, and how far we are from God. Nothing tells us this more than the torn & divided state of humanity, in mutually hostile & divided camps.”
After reading Water at the Root by Phillip Britts … I can say (with Jennifer Harries) it is my own “quest for deeper roots and greater Wonder” that brought me to these pages … such a “heart-quest” is from God … led by the Holy Spirit … and dependent upon cooperation.
When I read, I’ll often imagine myself in the moment of history … participating in the experiences of those portrayed in the book. Perhaps that is why the love, courage & peace-seeking of this Bruderhof community resonated so deeply with me.
In a society uprooted by war, industrialization, and dehumanizing technology, Phillip Britts … a farmer, poet, activist, pastor & mystic … sought a way of life where people could live in harmony with the land and with one another. He found that life in the pacifist community of the Bruderhof...they are peace seekers & peace keepers.
Then the world is plunged into World War II … the community is forced to leave because there are Germans living there.
In faith, like Abraham, the “Father of faith” in the Old Testament … Phillip Britts left England with his wife & those in the community to go to a foreign place. They were confronted with difficult decisions about who in the community would go first & when the others would follow … leaving under duress, leaving at great loss, traveling during a very dangerous time … then arriving in Paraguay where “they had to start from scratch like pioneers” … “But God” …
In the forward by David Cline he writes that “poetry forms the heart of this book: in spite of the many hardships Phillip and his community weathered in leaving his native England and hacking out a livelihood in the harsh wilderness of Paraguay, poetry never stopped flowing out of him like water from a spring.” … Phillip had a way of seeing beauty in ashes ... his words reveal that
“Words aptly spoken are like apples of gold in settings of silver” … reflecting wisdom, beauty & inspiration: I believe such words are uniquely shaped in a seeing heart and uniquely received the same way … under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Phillip’s poetry & writing reflects his wholehearted commitment to Christ as Lord and a deep faith that exceeded his too-short life. Yet the question he “kept grappling with” should inspire all believers: “How shall we live?”
Phillip writes: “There are mountains to be removed & the greatest is in our heart” … this is profound truth.
“The heart is the well-spring of life.” ~ Proverbs 4
Salvation is by the heart not the head … Jesus is after our hearts …
Phillip states: “The good of his neighbor: that is the call to action … this action will be more full of joyous spontaneous love if we have come near to the glory of Him who is LOVE … if we have felt something of His love warming our souls as sunshine warms the body… without that LOVE … action is nothing”
There has been much promotion of “community” by the Church (certainly in recent decades) Phillip’s writing captures rich insights about “how we shall live” … “Community” is not a program that can be manufactured … it is lived out day by day … reflected in heart-attitude & made real through action. Most importantly if reflects Christ’s heart:
“Love one another as I have loved you” ~Jesus
“Finding the source-water” … In 1947 Phillip presciently wrote: “Let us recognize how godless our times are, and how far we are from God. Nothing tells us this more than the torn & divided state of humanity, in mutually hostile & divided camps.”
As I read his words I thought … is this not today? Time passes and things change … “progress” is made … we live in an age of technology & information (which is NOT knowledge) but as Phillip states in “the essential conflict: the final result of knowledge is determined by the spirit is serves”
Rich wisdom in this writing: “In the time of the breaking off nations” again, profound truths … Phillip powerfully stated: “Let us not be misled by the symptoms of human power. The power of God alone is decisive in the end.”
Time passes and there is “change & progress” but the issues of the human heart remain the same. Truth remains the same. God, who is TRUTH remains the same. He alone is Sovereign.
So often I am taken to Matthew 13: Jesus is asked by the disciples why he spoke in parables and he responds (quoting from Isaiah 6)
“Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them…
“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever
hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ ~ Matthew 13
My ongoing prayer for those I love: that God will grant them a willing spirit… that they will understand with their hearts & turn to HIM: He alone is our Redeemer, the Restorer of our souls, our Healer … our Savior and All-Sufficient God. He alone makes it possible for “eyes to see and ears to hear” … “In Jesus Christ” … broken people can be healed and made whole.
I was very saddened that Phillip died so young (31 years) … his life rich with purpose … his work “well-done” … his life faithfully lived … he left behind a beautiful wife, 3 young children & a yet-to-be born 4th child.
God is not finished with Phillip … his writing lives on.
Let this be the way that I go … And the life that I try
My feet being firm in the field … My heart in the sky
~ Phillip Britts
September 19, 2019 ~Fay Vietmeier
A glimpse of the “Bee” called “me” ;~)
My curious nature makes me a “queen of questions” … but gifted with the ability to listen ;~) I'm a woman of deep faith, a blessed mother, a voracious reader, a blossoming writer, a grateful person, and a lover of beauty … I treasure family, true friendships and my loyal clients ... enjoy traveling, learning, good movies, good wine and golf. I’m a heart-to-heart communicator.
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