May 21, 2011

Glimpses 47


Malcolm Muggeridge

Pursued Into the Light of Christ!

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G'day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in different peoples lives in different ways. We aim to show Jesus as being relevant to the world today, some 2000 years after He walked the earth, died  on  a Roman cross, rose again to new life from physical death and ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

Today, once more we take a step back to recent history, into the 20th century, and a very brief glimpse at the Christianity of a well-known Christian.  Today its Malcolm Muggeridge, who was, by his own volition and renown, a determined sceptic and vocal non-believer. We will look at some of what this man said about Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  In doing so, I will be taking short excerpts from two of his books "Conversion: A Spiritual Journey" and "Jesus Rediscovered" which should still be available to purchase.

Malcolm Muggeridge was born on in England on 24 March 1903 and died on 14 November 1990.  He was educated at Cambridge University and graduated with in Natural Sciences.   During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy. He was an English journalist, author and media personality. In is earlier years, he was renowned as a drinker, heavy smoker, and womaniser! After his conversion to Christ, he became a leader protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence.

We begin with Malcolm Muggeridge asking an important question!

Page 41 "Jesus Rediscovered" Is there a God? Well, is there? I would be very happy to answer with an emphatic negative. Temperamentally, it would suit me well enough to settle for what this world offers, and to write off as wishful thinking, or just the self-importance of the human species, any notion of a divine purpose and a divinity to entertain and execute it. I have never wanted a God, or feared a God, or felt under any necessity to invent one. Unfortunately, I am driven to the conclusion that God wants me. God comes padding after me like a Hound of Heaven. His shadow falls over all my little picnics in the sunshine, chilling the air; draining the viands of their flavour; talk of its sparkle, desire of its zest. God takes a hand as history's compère...  Under God's eye, tiny hoarded glories fall into dust - a little fame, some money ... "Oh Mr M! How wonderful you are!" There is no escape. Even so, one twists and turns.

And his story of God pursuing him continues, culminating in Malcolm Muggeridge becoming a Christian but not knowing at what specific time it occurred because for him it was a process.  One person, or light, instrumental in this conversion process was Mother Theresa of Calcutta!

Pages 14-15 "Conversion" - There was a happening when we were in Calcutta with Mother Theresa making the film Something Beautiful for God, which might well have provided an occasion for a conversion. The Home for Dying Destitutes where Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity, take down-and-outs from the streets of Calcutta... Mother Theresa is, in herself, a living conversion; it is impossible to be with her, to listen to her, to observe what she is doing and how she is doing it, without being in some degree converted. Her total dedication to Christ, her insistence that all our fellow human beings must be treated and helped and loved as though they were Christ, her simple presentation of the Gospel and joy in receiving the sacraments, is quite irresistible. There is no book I've ever read, or discourse I've ever heard, or service I've ever attended, no human relationship or transcendental experience, which has brought me nearer to Christ, or made me more aware of what the Incarnation signifies for us and requires of us.

And so this arch-sceptic and non-believer turns to Jesus Christ of Nazareth as God! God had indeed been pursuing him and using people such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta to bring Malcolm Muggeridge to a living faith in Jesus Christ! What was this man's view of Christianity now?

Pages 109-110  "Jesus Rediscovered" - I see Christianity as a very bright light; particularly bright now because the surrounding darkness is so deep and dense; a brightness that holds my gaze inexorably, so that even if I want to - and I do sometimes want to - I can't detach it. Christ said he was the light of the world, and told us to let our light shine before men. To partake of this light, to keep it in one's eye, is Heaven; to be cut off from it is Hell... Away from the light, one is imprisoned in the tiny, desolate dungeon of one's ego; when the light breaks in, suddenly one is liberated, reborn.

Powerful words from this convert, even with a brief glimpse at what he had to say! And what is the relevancy of this Christianity to the world today, this Christianity which Malcolm Muggeridge once cast off as nonsensical and controlling drivel?

Page 63 "Conversion" - What we continue to call the western civilisation, after all, began with Christian revelation, not the theory of evolution... Jesus of Nazareth was its founding father, not Charles Darwin; it was Paul of Tarsus who first carried its message to Europe, not Karl Marx or even Lenin. Jesus, by dying on the Cross, abolished death wishing; dying became thenceforth life's glory and fulfilment. So when Jesus called on His followers to die in order to live, He created a tidal wave of joy and hope on which they have ridden two thousand years.

This was all part of the journey of faith for Malcolm Muggeridge, former sceptic and unbeliever who turned to Christ when he realised that God was pursuing him and using lights such as Mother Theresa to bring Malcolm to faith.  Today, you go be a light to somebody's path to faith and show the relevancy of Jesus Christ to all you meet on every day you live.  And if you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, be assured He is also pursuing you, calling you to be in a dynamic relationship with Him. He calls you by name and no matter how much you twist and turn, you can deny Him, but you cant escape Him!  Thank you.

Muggeridge, M., Jesus Rediscovered, Collins Fount Paperbacks, London: 1982
Muggeridge, M., Conversion: A Spiritual Journey, Collins, London: 1988

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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